LNYF highlights tradition, culture at the start of the Year of the Rat

| Senior Cadenza Editor

Washington University students will celebrate the Lunar New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Rat, this weekend. The annual Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF) performance will take place this Friday and Saturday.

“I’m super excited to see the whole show come together,” co-Executive Director of LNYF senior Jiyoon Kang said. “Our performers have worked so hard since September, and I am so thrilled for the audience to see what we have prepared for them.”

As executive director, Kang and her co-director senior Kuu Chen oversee everything: the performances, skits, philanthropy and the executive board.

Curran Neenan | Student Life

Members of the Chinese Yo-Yo Club pose for pictures ahead of their annual performance in the Lunar New Year Festival.

They make sure that “things run smoothly together,” Kang said. “But [we] also try to ensure that everyone who is taking part in the show is comfortable and happy to take part in LNYF.”

Putting together a show like LNYF takes a lot of effort. For the last five months, the LNYF exec board has worked tirelessly. But all that hard work is what makes LNYF one of the biggest cultural shows on campus, with a multitude of acts—such as Standing Drums, Samulnori, Chinese Yoyo, Korean Fan and more—interwoven with a skit.

“We celebrate our culture through a variety of Asian performances…We also have a skit every year that talks about Asian-American culture, and talks about issues that may not be well recognized to the greater community,” Kang explained.

The theme of this year’s skit is Emerge. To Kang, Emerge means overcoming challenges entering the new year.

We [hope that] the performers in the show and the audience are able to overcome any personal challenges that they may have as well,” Kang said. “Emerge is meant to encourage the audience to stride into the new year as a new beginning.”

Emerge also ties in with this year’s philanthropy partner, Variety.

“Variety provides services to children with special needs. By supporting Variety, we hope to see these children overcome challenges, radiate confidence and emerge stronger,” Kang said.

Kang has been involved with LNYF for three years, in various roles, but this was her first year as executive director.

“It’s really fun overall but also made me very nervous in the beginning,” Kang said. “It’s a lot of pressure to organize one of the biggest cultural shows on campus. But it’s extremely rewarding—LNYF has been such a big part of my college life, and I am so proud to say that I took part in organizing a show like this. Seeing everyone get together to continue [the] tradition and celebrate our culture, and to become a bigger community makes me really happy.”

LNYF performances will be at 7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday. All performances will take place in Edison Theatre.

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