Happy New Year! Students Usher in Year of the Dragon With Food and Fun

Lunar New Year celebration is part of I Heart Travel Week at Kent State

Satterfield Hall was filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Lunar New Year as Kent State University students gathered Feb. 14 to celebrate and learn to make Asian dumplings.

Kent State offers a diverse global community with students representing 89 countries studying on the Kent Campus.

Emily Zhang, a graduate student in translation and teaching assistant in Chinese language within the College of Arts and Sciences, stood over a steaming pot of water carefully stirring the freshly made dumplings filled with either ground beef or poultry.  

“The trick is making sure they don’t stick together,” Zhang said, as she stirred the pot, noting how it takes about 10 minutes of boiling to ensure the meat filling is properly cooked.

The celebration was organized by Hui Yu, associate lecturer in the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies and coordinator of the Chinese language program in the College of Arts and Sciences, who offered students lessons on how to make Asian-style dumplings from scratch.

The fillings, Yu said, were made of either beef or poultry seasoned with onion, soy sauce, ginger and other ingredients.

Students learn the game mahjong during Lunar New Year festivities.

She had prepared a simple dough of flour and water, then pinched off walnut-sized pieces and deftly rolled them into small circles. Students then took their turns pinching the rounds into meat-filled pouches waiting to be dropped into Zhang’s boiling pot.

“This is the most important holiday in Chinese culture,” Yu said. The celebration, she said, is all about ensuring good fortune for the new year.

Other foods available for the celebration included rice wine soup, miso soup, traditional tea and fortune cookies.

A Kent State student paints a Chinese couplet for Lunar New Year.

There also were traditional Chinese games and activities, including the tile game mahjong and painting red fabric and paper couplets with Chinese lettering as New Year decorations.

Kent State students celebrate Lunar New Year.

Yasmeen Bell, a first-year chemistry major from Akron, Ohio, was assisting with a sugar painting craft, in which students used melted sugar to create artistic designs. 

Yu said this is the second year she has organized the celebration for the Lunar New Year, offering a way for international students from China and other Asian countries to come together and celebrate and enjoy traditional foods and fun.

The event was part of I Heart Travel Week, sponsored by Kent State’s Office of Global Education.

In addition to the New Year celebration, Yu said her department hosts traditional Chinese teatime from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., Wednesdays, also in Room 110 of Satterfield Hall.  

The tea, she said, is a chance for international students to enjoy their customs, and at the same time educate U.S. students on the Chinese tradition of taking tea. 

Check out a full listing of I Heart Travel Week events.


POSTED: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 04:02 PM
Updated: Monday, February 26, 2024 11:09 AM
Lisa Abraham
Lisa Abraham