Lunar New Year Celebrates "Year of the Horse"

Lunar New Year
February 01, 2014

With a resounding “Ni hao” [“hello” in Chinese] and a toast to the “Year of the Horse,” Dean Ben Vinson greeted guests gathered for the celebratory launch on January 31 of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is marked by 15 days of celebration on the traditional East Asian calendar. Among those in attendance were guests from the GW Confucius Institute, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL), student performers, and Provost Steven Lerman.

“This large turnout from across the university demonstrates our commitment to global studies and the value we, as an academic community, place on cultural exchange,” noted Vinson, who, in addition to his deanship, directs the GW Confucius Institute. “Through teaching, research, and outreach, we are embarking on a shared conversation about language, art, science, music, and the humanities.”

Also addressing the crowd was EALL chair Young-Key Kim-Renaud. She explained the traditional agrarian roots of the holiday. She also wished the audience a happy new year in five languages—Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, Vietnamese, and English.

“Most traditional East Asians believe their ancestral spirits commune with them and sincerely bless them,” Kim-Renaud noted. “In this joyful season, we are happy and thankful to reaffirm our individual roots and our particular contributions to making our society so much richer, more interesting, and harmonious.”

View the photo gallery.