San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Students celebrate Lunar New Year with the APIDA Center

Students got to experience a dragon dance, games, treats and more during the event
Ariana Mardani
Students watch a dragon dance during the APIDA center’s Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 9

On Feb. 9, San Diego State University students got a true Lunar New Year experience as the APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) center hosted its third annual celebration at the Student Union. 

Over 250 students came to enjoy a sense of familiarity or experience the beauty of the holiday for the first time. 

Booths from numerous organizations displaying their own unique games, treats and souvenirs lined the perimeter, while an incredible performance from White Dragon Martial Arts Of East County was showcased. 

Attendees were greeted at the event by two lions, one yellow and the other red, as well as their guardian, a monk. The performance was a perfect blend of comedy, energy and passion.

“Doing this is important to me because there’s great values in certain traditions. With lion dancing, not only does it teach teamwork, but it teaches how to be a part of a community, the importance of a strong work ethic, timing and of course perseverance,” said Nakonsy Chong, one of the lion performers. 

The dancing concluded with a delightful treat, which was a cabbage that was fed to each dragon by their guardians. Cabbage is considered a symbol of luck, and anyone fortunate enough to touch the delicacy would be granted wealth.

“In Asian culture, you don’t just cross your fingers, you’re actively doing things to gain luck. You eat lucky foods and do lucky activities, like not using cups, not using knives, wearing new clothes,” said Virgina Loh-Hagan, director of the APIDA center. “You don’t bathe on the day of new years because you don’t want to wash off the good luck you’ve been given.”

Students from different backgrounds experienced the culture of their fellow classmates by participating in the event. 

“I think it’s important to share culture on campus because it’s an experience. I’m Mexican American and I feel like I appreciate when people come and support my traditions, so I wanted to do the same in return,” Ayslin Hernandez, a third-year student, said. “You learn something new every day and I thought this was such a pretty event.” 

To other students, this felt like an old memory that came to life. 

“I’m from the Bay Area and we have a big Asian culture there. I got to experience the dragon dance back in elementary school, so to see it again… it was really cool,” Aracely Zavala, a third-year student, said.

The event concluded with walkarounds to each booth, enjoying the fortune cookies, red envelopes and traditional games. 

For more information about events at the APIDA Center, visit their website.

About the Contributor
Ariana Mardani
Ariana Mardani, Staff Writer
Ariana was born in Tarzana, California, but has spent almost all of her life living in Palos Verdes, California. She came to SDSU in 2020 as a Kinesiology Major, and has dreams of pursuing Medicine, more specifically something involving cardiology. Ariana has always had an interest in journalism, and used to be Editor-In-Chief of her high school’s yearbook committee. Aside from The Daily Aztec, Ariana is a Kappa Delta, as well as a part of the Aztec Professional Pre-Health Organization and the Persian Student Association. You can also find her on campus working with mice in Dr. Sussmans research lab. Ariana’s interests include late night drives, occasionally reading, sleeping, and spending quality time with friends.