Students dance in Watersleeves.
Students dance in Watersleeves.
Jenny Gao

IN PHOTOS: The Lunar New Year Festival Showcase 2020

Check out our multimedia coverage of this year’s Lunar New Year Festival Showcase

The Asian American Student Association presented its annual cultural showcase, The Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF) in Langford Auditorium Saturday, Feb. 22. This year’s theme honored Asian cultures by centering around food, a universal symbol of togetherness and home—hence, the title “A Recipe for Success.” Corresponding to the annual theme of the Chinese zodiac, the 2020 showcase focused on the year of the rat.


“This year’s theme is inspired by the film Ratatouille,” LNYF co-chair Skylar Long said. “We were thinking about how that is an unconventional occupation for a rat and how a single mother running a restaurant would be an unusual storyline.”

For many students of Asian heritage, childhood would not have been as colorful or flavorful without cuisine that provides not only a shared cultural identity but also comfort amidst integrating into American society. Food serves as a different symbol in each Asian culture, yet it can bring hundreds of students, family members and community members of various ethnicities together to share a pre-showcase meal in the Student Life Center (SLC).


“One of my favorite things about LNYF is that it brings together a completely new set of people,” Buchaechum performer Sophia Wang said. “I think LNYF is super important to Vanderbilt as a whole community but also any people with Asian heritage because it can be a struggle to find a place away from home that feels like home.”

Mattigan Kelly
Vanderbilt students perform in Buchaechum.

The showcase focused on the narrative of a recent Vanderbilt graduate trying to balance the passion she has for running her parents’ restaurant with her mother’s wishes.


“Asian parents and families usually have certain expectations for their children such as career paths, but a lot of kids have different dreams,” Long said. “This year we wanted to emphasize how Asian students specifically have different careers and passions. There is no single recipe for success, it differs from person to person and everyone defines it differently.”

Jenny Gao
Vanderbilt students, acting as mother and daughter, perform a skit in between acts.

The showcase featured Vanderbilt music groups and 14 student-led dances inspired by Asian and Asian American cultures such as Chinese water sleeves, Sayaw sa Bangko, K-pop and martial arts. The first installation of the LNYF Art Exhibit lined the halls of Light Hall, which houses Langford auditorium, for hundreds of visitors to view during pre-show time and intermission. Exhibits included student submissions of creative writing and photography, highlighting various forms of artistic expression from the newly launched LNYF Art Committee’s projects.

“As the biggest cultural showcase at Vanderbilt, LNYF is something everyone should do because of the people you meet, the community that results from the cultures you’re exposed to and all the fun you’ll have,” Wang said.

Mattigan Kelly
A dancer performs with the Instrument Ensemble at LNYF.

“During my freshman year, I didn’t know anyone with the same interests,” Long said. I couldn’t get into the American students or international student community. However, I got to find my place, my home in Vanderbilt through being in LNYF.”


Jenny Gao participated in the LNYF showcase.

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About the Contributors
Jenny Gao, Former Staff Photographer
Jenny Gao ('22) was a Staff Photographer for The Vanderbilt Hustler and a Gettys Stock Photographer. She double majored in cognitive studies and medicine, health and society with a minor in creative writing. Alongside photography, Jenny was a resident advisor for E. Bronson Ingram College and a clinical psychology research assistant at Peabody College. She can be reached at [email protected] or through her website.
Mattigan Kelly, Former Deputy Multimedia Director
Mattigan Kelly ('22) was Deputy Multimedia Director for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She has been on the staff since her freshman year. Mattigan majored in chemical engineering in the School for Engineering. In addition to shooting for The Hustler, she was the Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem at Vanderbilt, works in a research lab on campus and plays Club Tennis.
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