INTO Marshall brings in the Chinese New Year


Son Nguyen

Kenny Jones, INTO Marshall student engagement coordinator, greets students at the INTO Chinese New Year celebration.

INTO Marshall celebrated the Chinese New Year Monday with food, music and festivities open to all INTO and Marshall students.
“The Year of the Monkey,” as this year is observed by the Chinese calendar, began on Feb. 8 and will last until Jan. 27, 2017.

INTO Marshall brought in the new year by offering festivities reminiscent of those traditionally celebrated in China, including Chinese food and gifts.

Vietnamese INTO student Nguyen Thai shared the history of the holiday and why countries other than China, such as his home country of Vietnam, celebrate it.

“The Lunar Year is based on the Chinese calendar. It’s different from the western calendar,” Thai said. “I’m from Vietnam, but Vietnam has the same lunar year as the Chinese too.”

Thai also discussed many aspects of the holiday, such as “lucky money,” common decorations and the traditional dresses worn during the Chinese New Year celebrations. Thai concluded that the Chinese New Year is ultimately a great time for family and friends to gather and share a meal.

“This is a time for Chinese people to gather together and eat together,” Thai said.

According to Chinese INTO student, Beijing Ye the Chinese New Year is most comparable to the celebration of Christmas in western culture.

“Christmas is for you what the New Year is to us,” Ye said.

Ye,  a first year INTO student, said celebrating the New Year in America for the first time has been different because it is traditionally a multiple-day holiday, with most Chinese workers getting a full week off  work or school.

According to Ye, some students asked for a university-observed absence to observe the Chinese New Year but were not granted it. Instead, these students were requested to notify their instructors separately if they planned to honor the holiday.

INTO Marshall student engagement coordinator Kenneth Jones planned the event with all INTO and Marshall students in mind.

Jones said he intends for his events to be a way for INTO students to mingle with one another and meet new people after classes.

“They see each other in class, but feeding them and them hanging out allows them a different setting to interact with people they might not have interacted with before,” Jones said.

According to Jones, INTO makes a point to observe cultural holidays and events at the INTO center for students who celebrate them.

“While the students come here to learn English and learn about American culture, I also like celebrating their cultures, too,” Jones said.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected].