NMSU hosts its first Lunar New Year celebration through API program

Leighanne Muñoz

More stories from Leighanne Muñoz


David Castañeda

Students put together lanterns during Wednesday’s Lunar New Year celebration in the Garcia Center courtyard, Jan. 25, 2023.

Lunar New Year is the celebration of a brand-new lunar calendar for many Asian communities, the lunar calendar has months that are represented by the moon cycles, with this years’ last moon cycle ending  on Jan. 23 meaning that the Lunar New Year began on Jan. 24, 2022. Lunar New Year celebrations include various activities, food and family. The holiday is celebrated by many countries that include China, Vietnam, South Korea and many others with large Chinese and Vietnamese populations. This year New Mexico State University held its first annual Lunar New Year celebration on Wednesday afternoon. 

Audrey Dijeau, President of the Students for Asian and Pacific Islander Student Support and one of the events organizers, explains how the celebration being held on campus signifies more diversity.  

“I am really happy to see this event taking place at NMSU, it means a lot to see more diverse cultures represented in the events here on campus,” Dijeau said. “Especially Lunar New Year which is celebrated in so many places all over the world whether the people are in Asia or apart of the Asians that are all over.”  

Many different cultures observe the holiday in numerous ways which was seen at NMSU’s celebration this week. This can mean a multitude of things for different API students, the most important being that they feel represented on campus.  

Dr. Sophia Pook, advisor of the API program and another event organizer, shares the importance of acknowledging the holiday on campus. “We want to recognize the API community here at NMSU,” Pook said. “This specific event is aimed at bringing together faculty, staff and students and building a community the same way we have an LGBT+ Programs, the same way there’s a Chicano Programs, a Black Programs, and an American Indian Programs, I think it is very valuable resource in that our students can see themselves visible and represented in the culture of NMSU.”


API Support and Programming, a student-led group, held its first Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 25, 2023. Students pictured are seen serving themselves chicken and rice bowls. (David Castañeda) 

Every Lunar New Year is represented by a different animal every year, and this can mean something different in every culture. Dijeau elaborates on the various ways the Lunar New Year can be celebrated by many Asian cultures.  

“I have learned a lot working on setting up this event. In some zodiacs, such as the Chinese zodiac, which is the one I grew up following it is the year of the rabbit,” she said. “I learned that in the Vietnamese zodiac it’s actually the year of the cat. So, you may see some decorations with both the year of the rabbit and the year of the cat. Doing a little more research I learned that in the Malay zodiac it is the year of the mouse deer.”  

Pook also mentions moving into a new space for the API programs. “We will have a room right in Garcia Hall, 133 and 131, this will be the API programming and support space and we have an email [email protected] and  Instagram @nmsu_api. Along with the students that have put this together the equity and inclusion office is working towards building those resources,” she said.

Facebook Comments