Lunar New Year at Fordham: The Year of the Tiger

AAPI celebrates 2022 Lunar New Year with week-long festivities on campus



Students visited the AAPI table in the Garden Lounge.


Following a weekend of snow and rain, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) committee at Fordham Lincoln Center hosted a series of weeklong events inspired by various Asian holiday festivities to celebrate the 2022 Lunar New Year. 

The Lunar New Year is widely celebrated among many East and Southeast Asian cultures. Marking the start of the lunar calendar, the holiday is typically a time for feasting and for family members to gather together around a table full of laughter and joy. The Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon, which typically occurs between late January and early February, and lasts until the full moon arrives. Even though the Chinese New Year is the most widely known, Lunar New Year is also celebrated in Korea, Vietnam and many other Asian countries. 

“I think the Lunar New Year is definitely a time to spend with family and friends and celebrate not only the year ahead of you, but also everything you have accomplished in the past,” said Rachana Poudel, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’24 and one of AAPI’s board members. “It is a time for reflection and celebration.”

“There were lots of people who were interested in learning about the Lunar New Year and Asian cultures in general.” Rachana Poudel, FCLC ’24

In honor of the Lunar New Year, AAPI hosted various cultural events and activities, such as red envelope treats, paper lantern crafts, goldfish origami and movie night.

“We had a wide range of people who came to our tabling events on Monday and Tuesday,” Poudel said. “People of all backgrounds, not just people of Asian descent.” Poudel continued, “There were lots of people who were interested in learning about the Lunar New Year and Asian cultures in general.”

The AAPI committee wanted to encourage diversity and discussions about Asian cultures and traditions through the celebration events.

The red envelope tabling event on Monday was a huge success for AAPI, according to Poudel and various committee members. As students passed by the plaza on the first floor of the Leon Lowenstein Center, the red table display decorated by committee members drew students in, and they would leave the building with chocolate coins and red envelopes in their hands. 

On Tuesday, around 20 students participated in the AAPI arts and crafts session at Argo Tea, where they made small paper lanterns and goldfish ornaments with red and yellow origami paper. 

Due to the poor weather conditions in New York City on Feb. 4 and 5, AAPI had to cancel the planned trip to the New World Mall Food Court in Flushing, Queens, that Friday.

“We are thinking about rescheduling the event in the future,” Poudel said. “The whole week we also tried our best to advertise for the outing on Friday, and we did get great responses from people who were planning on coming.”

“We love being able to see everyone and their smiles.” Rachana Poudel

At the events, committee members taught participants about the symbols of the Lunar New Year. Each new lunar year is represented by one of the 12 zodiac animal signs and one of the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal. The 12 zodiac animals of the cycle are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The year 2022 is said to be the year of the water tiger. Occurring every 60 years, the water tiger symbolizes a year of courage, strength, confidence and leadership, as well as the expulsion of evil signs and negativity in life.

“Transitioning from a hybrid celebration of the new year through a mix of Zoom and in-person events last year due to COVID to being fully in-person has been a great and more immersive experience for the Fordham community,” Poudel said. “We love being able to see everyone and their smiles.”

On Feb. 12 at 11:30 a.m. on 98 Mott Street, Chinatown, the Asian American and Pacific Islander Alumni at Fordham Affinity Chapter will be celebrating the Lunar New Year by watching the “Super Saturday” Lion Dance and supporting local businesses still recovering from the pandemic. Participants are encouraged to bring small bills placed in red envelopes to give to the Lions. The event is free but RSVP is required.