Vietnamese Student Association hosts 3rd annual Lunar New Year’s festival

Witchita State VSA dance team shows the audience a traditonal dance using fans at the New Years festival at the student union on Feb. 04, 2017. (Kelly Pham | The Collegian)

The Vietnamese Student Association partnered with Kansas State’s Union Program Council to bring the biggest and most popular Vietnamese holiday — Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet for short — to students on Saturday in the K-State Student Union ballroom.

Michael Tran, senior in mechanical engineering and treasurer of the Vietnamese Student Association, said VSA enjoys sharing their knowledge of the Lunar New Year and culture with students.

“It’s typically celebrated between three and seven days after the New Year,” Tran said. “Most of the celebration is to try and expel the bad luck out there and try to gain good luck to start the New Year.”

To help bring in good luck, attendees wrote their wishes for the year on a yellow piece of paper and then hung them on a Tet tree. By the end of the three-and-a-half-hour event, wishes filled the tree. Wishes included friendship, acceptance into veterinary school and relief for the less fortunate.

Attendees were also given a red envelope upon entering the ballroom, which is supposed to bring luck and prosperity.

Other activities for guests included traditional Vietnamese games, such as bau cua ca cop — a gambling game played with fake coins at the event — Vietnamese bingo, food from Panda Express and arts and crafts.

The event featured demonstrations ranging from a lion dance, a traditional fan dance and various martial arts presentations.

Martha Nguyen, junior in biology and president of the VSA, said the event is the biggest one they hold each year, and the main purpose of VSA is to promote diversity and teach others about Vietnamese culture.

“We’re celebrating the New Years, and this is our biggest festival, so we wanted to make it really big to make sure people could come and enjoy and have fun,” Nguyen said. “Since it is the New Years we wanted to start the New Year with a big bang.”

Molly Ridder, junior in elementary education, said she was mesmerized by the event and was happy she took time out of her Friday night to experience Vietnamese culture.

“I actually have a friend that works for UPC and she told me about this event and I was just like, ‘That sounds really neat,'” Ridder said. “I’m very interested in Asian culture, so I thought I’d come by and see it.

“I actually walked in when they were doing the fan dancing and it was almost mesmerizing,” Ridder continued. “We were going to go and get food, but we were honestly just stuck watching it for a second. It was beautiful.”

Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!