Sam the Ram, Framingham State’s mascot, is more than excited to celebrate the arrival of this Lunar New Year, which happens to be the year of the Ram.
Sam joined a full house of students and faculty in the Forum on Wednesday night for the third annual FSU Lunar New Year Celebration, sponsored by Multicultural Affairs.
The celebration included traditional Chinese food, such as vegetable lo mein, dumplings and egg rolls, as well as activities, games and a live performance.
Senior Yue Chen and junior Nora Chan hosted the program. They began by teaching the audience how to say “happy new year” in Chinese and explaining some of the traditions of the Lunar New Year.
“It is called the Lunar New Year as it follows the lunar cycle calendar,” said Chen. He said that it is called the “Lunar New Year Celebration” because it is not exclusive to the Chinese and is celebrated by other cultures including the Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and many others.
Chan explained that the celebration “is not really the new year as we know it.” Rather, it is the welcoming of spring, as “New Year” in Chinese translates to “Spring Festival.” The celebration lasts for 15 days, concluding with a Lantern Festival on the last day.
The highlight of the festivities was a live performance of the traditional Lion Dance, performed by the visiting Boston Chinese Freemasons Club.
The performance featured two large, intricately designed lions, one red and one white, dancing throughout the Forum while traditional music was played on the stage. The lions walked among the crowd, stopping at tables and allowing the audience to pet them for good luck.
At the end of the performance, the lions ate lettuce and oranges, then threw them into the crowd. The lettuce is traditionally symbolic of giving birth to luck, while the oranges are a sign of prosperity and good fortune according to a member of the BCFC.
“I really liked the lion dance,” said senior Rachel DeFronzo. “It was cool to see.”
Following the Lion Dance, attendees were given an opportunity to partake in many activities, including making paper origami sculptures, having their names written in calligraphy or playing a game with marbles and chopsticks for a chance to win a free T-shirt.