Midwestern University Celebrates Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year Events Commemorated the Year of the Dragon

Lion dancers dressed to mark the Year of the Dragon dance in The Commons.

The lion dance in honor of the Lunar New Year celebrates the Year of the Dragon.

Lion dancers delighted Midwestern University students, faculty, and staff in the Commons cafeteria on the Downers Grove Campus, dancing and weaving their way among the tables in honor of the Lunar New Year. The lion dancers were dressed to mark the Year of the Dragon. The Asian Healthcare Association (AHA) and Student Services hosted the event.

Multiculturalism is an integral component of the Midwestern University experience, and this event is one of many ways the University honors the diverse backgrounds of students, faculty, and staff. “The University’s Lunar New Year Celebration is an annual event. It helps celebrate cultures and events that others aren’t familiar with and gives faculty and staff a chance to share pieces of their culture and history. We hope the event promotes a better and deeper understanding of each other,” said Lori Vozari-Rafaj, M.S., Assistant Dean of Student Activities, Student Services.

Lunar New Year lion stands to its full height.
The lion dance had several crowd-pleasing moves, such as standing very tall.

Medical student and community coordinator for the Asian Healthcare Association Kianna Ruble (CCOM ’26) said, “Instead of January 1, we celebrate the new lunar calendar.” Kianna shared that the holiday was celebrated by all Asian cultures, although traditionally it was a Chinese holiday. “It’s important for our community to have representation and give back to the campus community by doing Asian-related events.” Kiana added, “I hope people take away a deeper cultural appreciation.”

Information about Asian culture and traditions was also available. The annual Lunar New Year occurs between January 21st and February 20th, and is a 15-day festival starting with the new moon. The Lunar New Year acquired its name from the phases of the moon, is also referred to as Spring Festival, and the name is personalized by the country celebrating such as Chinese Chunjie, Korean Solnal, and Vietnamese Tet. Prior to the Lunar New Year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to symbolize a fresh start. The dragon represents wisdom, power, and good luck, and the ceremonial dance is intended to scare bad luck and evil spirits. Children receive red envelopes with money from elders to bring good fortune and happiness. The celebration concludes on the last day with the Lantern Festival.

Lunar new year decorations with red and gold colors and lucky symbols hang on the wall..
Lunar New Year decorations displayed on a wall.

The AHA also teamed up with the International Health Club for a Lunar New Year Celebration showcasing calligraphy, music, art, games, and food. A mahjong game was also available for students to play.

Mah Jong tiles and case displayed on a table and window decorated with red garland.
A game of mahjong was available to play during the Lunar New Year celebration.

Cultural appreciation and awareness are among the many ways Midwestern University seeks to promote diversity and a multicultural experience for students to supplement their patient-centered healthcare professional education. The University offers a variety of student clubs and organizations in Downers Grove and Glendale as well as a plethora of degree programs on both campuses.

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