The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Rory Sellers/THUNDERWORD

Various Highline community members excited at the results of the Bau Cua Ca Ngua dice roll.

Highline’s Year of the Dragon Festival kicks off the Lunar New Year with celebration

Rory Sellers Staff Reporter Feb 22, 2024

Around 140 of Highline’s students and staff gathered to celebrate this year’s Lunar New Year in the Building 8 Mt. Constance room this past Thursday. The festivities, meant to educate about the rich history of this holiday and to celebrate with the community, was hosted by Highline’s Global Student Ambassadors and the Inter-Cultural Center.

Rory Sellers/THUNDERWORD

Duncan was the Blackjack dealer.

“The goal of this event was to assist students in comprehending the history of Lunar New Year and the many ways that people throughout the globe celebrate it,” said Linh Nguyen, one of the hosts of the event. “Through this we also desired to have students who must leave their homes in order to attend school during this time feel more connected and at ease in the event.”

The celebration kicked off at 1:30 p.m. giving a brief history of the Lunar New Year. The holiday is believed to have started 3,500 years ago to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring. The common myth surrounding the creation of this holiday is about a powerful monster called Nian who would antagonize towns of villagers on the eve of every new year. 

After many years of suffering under Nian’s reign of terror the villagers learned that Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red so the villagers would throw firecrackers and hang up red lanterns and scrolls to scare Nian away. 

The Chinese zodiac came into the culture around 1000 years later. The zodiac which is made up of 12 animals is based on the myth of a race held by the jade emperor who needed to determine the set of animals to base his new calendar off of – the results of which became the Chinese zodiac that we have today. 

We are currently in the fifth year of the zodiac which is dedicated to the dragon. The dragon promises strength, abundance, and good fortune. For these reasons, Highline celebrated with food and games, which Lunar New Year is known for. 

Rory Sellers/THUNDERWORD

The line to grab food stretched all the way across the room.

After the presentation on Lunar New Year’s origins, the event distributed a variety of plentiful dishes from egg rolls to chow mein (thank you, Panda Express). The event later opened into multiple different festivities and games where students competed for various secret prizes at the end of the event. 

The games included: Lunar new year bingo, the chopstick game, bau cua ca ngua dice, and a vietnamese style of blackjack. The most popular being the bau cua ca ngua dice, a rigorous game of chance where a participant bets on a certain tile that one of three dice could land on. 

The game quickly erupted into uproars of excitement from the ebb and flow of bets won and lost. The table emanated a huge amount of energy, drawing more crowds leading to more bets being thrown around the table back and forth waiting in anticipation for the dice to be rolled in their favor. 

“Through a presentation, eating Asian cuisine, and playing Asian games, I believe the event met [its] goals effectively,” Nguyen added.

If you missed Highline’s festivities, you can still explore and celebrate the various Asian cultures around Seattle by coming this Saturday, Feb. 24, to Seattle Chinatown International district, where they will be hosting its annual festivities this year from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

The celebration will have vendors lined up along South King St. There is also slated to be seven different performances in Hing Hay Park, including multiple dances and a childrens costume contest. There will also be 40+ food walk presentations by various food groups from the area.

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