From the Archives: Gaels Reflect on Lunar New Year

In honor of Lunar New Year, Gaels past and present share what the annual celebration has meant to them. An encore presentation of a 2019 story.


Lion dancer: Celebrating the Lunar New Year at Saint Mary's College in 2022For the millions who began celebrating the Lunar New Year on January 22, the Tiger has handed off the baton to the Rabbit—or, for those of Vietnamese heritage, to the Cat. 

The Rabbit symbolizes calm, gentleness, and self-reflection. And the Cat is supposed to bring good fortune and smooth sailing. Many kicked off weeks of celebration with the centuries-old tradition of fireworks, setting off dazzling displays—from San Francisco's Chinatown to city centres throughout the world. Whether at festivals or restaurants or tables at home, families and friends around the world gathered for special meals.

And yet, for so many, what should be a time of joy is one of sadness, following news of a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California. The act of violence is at odds with the essence of Lunar New Year and our College's fundamental values. As Saint Mary's President Richard Plumb recently wrote in a message to the campus, the event "strikes at the heart of all that we value as an institution, including decency, acceptance, and respect for all people."

In honor of the Lunar New Year, and what this celebration should symbolize, we revisit a 2019 story. Hear from members of the Gael community—from Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and other East Asian backgrounds, as well as a scholar of East Asian history—as they share their Lunar New Year experiences and traditions. They are alumni as well as current and former faculty and staff.

Saint Mary’s Lunar New Year Festival: February 23, 2023

For those on campus and in the Bay Area: Mark your calendars! On Thursday, February 23, from noon until 2 p.m., Saint Mary’s will host the campus-wide Lunar New Year Festival. Co-hosted by our Asian Pacific Islander Resource Group, Student Involvement and Leadership, and other campus partners, the event is sure to be celebratory—and meaningful.