On Sunday, February 11th, 2024, Concord Academy celebrated the Lunar New Year with an Asian cuisine-themed community dinner for students and faculty. Lunar New Year is celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian countries and peoples, namely China (Xin Nian), Vietnam (Tet), and South Korea (Seollal). This holiday, which falls on the 10th of February this year, celebrates the arrival of Spring as well as the start of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. Another important tradition in this holiday is the Chinese Zodiac Animals, which are widely spread amongst many East and Southeast Asian countries. There are twelve of them in total, the order being the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and lastly, the pig. It changes every year until it repeats the cycle every dozen years. This year’s Chinese Zodiac animal is the dragon, symbolizing powerful attributes such as vigor, strength, and good fortune.

For this year’s Lunar New Year dinner, CA offered a variety of delectable Asian foods including orange chicken, dumplings, teriyaki salmon, fortune cookies, and spring rolls. Dumplings, a Chinese traditional food eaten during the Lunar New Year, are meant to look like gold nuggets symbolizing wealth and prosperity. Another food that has been assigned this meaning of prosperity are the spring rolls, eaten both in Chinese and Vietnamese culture. Fish– in this case, salmon– signifies an abundance of wealth and prosperity as the Chinese character “yu 鱼,”. It sounds similar to “yu” in the context of wealth. For dessert, attendees of the dinner enjoyed fortune cookies, also known as “good luck cookies,” They are believed to hold the meanings of fate, luck, and wisdom. This food pleased many who went to CA’s dinner, especially the dumplings. “It was really nice getting to spend the night with my friends who are like my second family, especially because Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated with our family and close relatives,” said Elyn Tao ’27 and Flora Xu ’27. The Lunar New Year community dinner saw traditional symbols, colors, and clothing, which represent wealth and good fortune. The color red, worn by many of the students and used in many of the decorations, is associated with many life-generated energies such as the sun, blood, and fire, which symbolize prosperity and celebrations.

The Lunar New Year community dinner was a traditional, memorable, and delicious way to celebrate the holiday and the identities of many international students at CA.