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A wonderful night at CSC-hosted Lunar New Year Banquet

March 1, 2022

Students from various MSU cultural organizations gathered to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Cadillac Room on Feb. 26, 2022.

Guests were dressed to the nines at the MSU’s Chinese-American Student Coalition-hosted Lunar New Year Banquet. The room was filled with sparkling dresses and neatly pressed suits, and not a hair was out of place. Everyone was looking forward to having a good time. 

There are high expectations for a reason: The Lunar New Year Banquet is usually regarded as the CSC’s biggest event of the school year. Prior to the pandemic, the last banquet had as many as 250 attendees. Even at a reduced capacity, there was still going to be a large turnout. The executive members still had to find a way to ensure the safety of the participants while ensuring that the traditions of the banquet were continued.

To do so, the CSC’s executive board has spent four months preparing for the event. The event did not start until 6 p.m., but the members began rehearsing the process eight hours earlier.

Strict protocols were also enforced: Attendants had to present a negative COVID-19 test in order to be granted entry into the dinner. Instead of a usual buffet-style dinner, dinner had to be individually proportioned and served, atypical for Asian dishes, which are usually meant to be shared together. Some of the performances were videotaped and shown to the audience to reduce the risk of contracting the virus due to traveling.

Booking for the location that was traditionally used to host the event was also scarce, delaying the event to after Lunar New Year celebrations had typically ended. In the absence of the holiday spirit, would everyone still have a good time?

The short answer is yes. There were very few moments of silence during the banquet: there was chatter and laughter at all times. The performances were varied and drew support and cheers from the audience. There was Spartan Diabolo, a Chinese yo-yo organization that surprised the room with its speed and fluidity. “Ctrl+A,” an MSU dance group, and “Very Us,” a University of Michigan dance group, were also present.  

The food was also a hit. There were many dishes present, from Mapo Tofu to mango pudding. Crowd favorites were the char siu bao, the egg tart, and the boba tea. (I can personally attest that the egg tarts were pretty good!)

What are the reasons for the success of the banquet that celebrates Lunar New Year despite not being held during Lunar New Year? For students like Victoria Diep, a business-admitted junior, the night was just an occasion to dress up and get to meet new people. Evan Chang, CSC’s co-marketing chair and a junior majoring in Human Biology, said it is all about building and sustaining a community.

“(The Banquet) brings back the idea of community,” Chang said. “A lot of organizations at MSU, I feel like their main objective is to build a community of like-minded people, whether it is sports, whether it’s arts, (or) whether it’s (a) community of culture, like this one. ... (The objective) is to build a community. You have people, you have kinship, you have friendship with different people with like-minds, and I think that’s an important part to focus on. ... To keep it going throughout the years, you need to have a strong bond. Whether it’s with the same years, below you, above you, people who are of different ages, you really do need to be able to maintain that sense of community.”

Funnily enough, isolating a Lunar New Year Banquet from the Lunar New Year only seems to highlight the true meaning of the holiday: to celebrate our loved ones and the memories we have made together. The traditional image of a Lunar New Year’s celebration might differ dramatically from the celebration that took place in The Cadillac Room, but the spirit remains true, and that is all CSC needs to have a successful event. 

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