Drumming in the new year with dragons

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Drum pic

Courtney Bruntz, far left, and Andrew Brown, middle, learn how to create different sounds on the drums with others during the Lunar New Year celebration on Monday.

Confetti pops, drummers drum and dragons dance to celebrate the beginning of the lunar year.

Students from various backgrounds joined together to celebrate and learn about the Lunar New Year on Monday.

Director of Asian Studies Courtney Bruntz has coordinated the event at Doane every year for the past five years, despite having only worked at Doane for four years. 

Bruntz said she held the event the Spring semester before beginning work to officially announce the Asian Studies program. 

The Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian countries, specifically the ones that follow a lunar calendar

These include countries such as China, Vietnam, Korea and more, along with Chinese communities within the United States and Europe. 

Also known as the Spring Festival, it celebrates the coming of Spring and the start of a new year. 

To celebrate, many go home to spend time with their families. 

“It is especially significant in mainland China because so many people are migrant workers,” Bruntz said. “This is like the one time they can go home and be with their families. They will travel across the country.”

People also clean around the house to rid themselves of bad luck. Starting the new year in a clean environment further promotes good luck. 

The event also signifies the beginning of a new Zodiac year. 

As of Saturday, the year of the rat has begun. 

“Each year is a different animal. This year is the year of the rat, so for people who are born as rats, this is their year. It is extra special for them,” Bruntz said.

The Lunar New Year is packed with various forms of symbolism to bring good luck and prosperity. 

Bruntz said many people eat long noodles to support longevity, dumplings because they resemble a money pouch for wealth and oranges for good fortune.

Additionally, it is common for parents to give their children a red envelope for the new year. The color red is considered a lucky color. 

Food from the Great Wall Chinese restaurant was served at the Doane event for free. . 

Bruntz said the family that owns the restaurant are from mainland China. 

Fortune cookies were laid out around the tables and seats, also provided by the restaurant. 

The Lion Dance Troupe from Lincoln came to Doane to perform for the event. Dancers dressed as dragons went around to allow people to pet them for good luck. People were encouraged to touch them as they passed by and told they could “feed the dragon” money that would be used as tips for the dancers.

One of the performers from the Lion Dance Troupe wore a Buddha mask and sprayed confetti onto the “dragons” during a dance. Children present at the event ran around under the falling confetti. 

Taiko Drummers also came to perform at the event on Monday. 

They portrayed Japanese drumming. Bruntz said Japan does not follow the Lunar calendar, but she invited them to help show Asian culture more thoroughly.

The drummers invited five volunteers to drum in between their sets and taught them various types of drumming. 

The volunteers were given robes to wear for special effect.