Welcoming Lunar New Year at Duke

Li-Chen Chin doesn’t hesitate when asked if she will prepare special foods for her family’s Chinese New Year celebration this week. Chin, who grew up in Taiwan and is director of intercultural programs at Duke, said her family’s dinner will feature a special fish dish and they will be careful to follow tradition by not consuming all of the fish.  

“The Chinese character 魚, for fish, is a homophone for 餘, or abundance,” Chin said. “Thus we always have fish on Chinese New Year’s Eve, but we do not finish it so that we will have ‘abundance’ in the upcoming year.”  

Although the official holiday - New Year's Day in the Chinese calendar - is Feb. 19, Chin notes that celebrations span many days, with families traditionally gathering for their main celebratory meal New Year's Eve.

On campus, Duke’s Chinese Student and Scholar Association (DCSSA) and Asian Students Association are both planning large celebrations featuring traditional food, dance and music for the holiday, also referred to as Spring Festival.

“Most companies in China will host an annual party or dinner before the Spring Festival,” said Jodie Zhu, regional director for East Asia at the Fuqua School of Business. Zhu and her colleagues, all based in Shanghai, held a team lunch to celebrate last year’s achievements. Their office will be closed Feb. 18-24 for the holiday, and Zhu will travel to Wuxi to celebrate with her family. The holiday is “a time for family reunions and visiting relatives and friends in your hometown,” Zhu said.

Chinese New Year is also a time when many pause to extend greetings to business associates and friends around the world. For the fourth year, Duke has developed a New Year e-greeting to share with alumni, partners and collaborators who celebrate the holiday. This year’s greeting features a traditional Chinese paper cutting depiction of two goats, in recognition of 2015’s designation as the Year of the Goat.

More Information:

Asian Students Association (ASA) Lunar New Year 2015
February 26 and 27, 7:00 p.m., Reynolds Theater

Duke Chinese Student and Scholars Association (DCSSA) New Year Gala
February 28, 6:00 dinner and 7:00 performance, Penn Pavilion
Free of charge, although advance reservations are required



Photo: The Fuqua Shanghai office prepares to celebrate the New Year