IN PHOTOS: The Lunar New Year Festival Showcase 2020
Check out our multimedia coverage of this year’s Lunar New Year Festival Showcase
February 25, 2020
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.