Courtesy of Yale TAS
Students rang in the Year of the Rat on Saturday night at Lunar Ball, one of the most anticipated events among the Asian American community at Yale.
The third annual ball drew more than 400 students and their guests and featured Asian cuisine, cultural booths and a dance floor. It was jointly hosted by the Taiwanese American Society and the Chinese American Student Association. Student groups including the Vietnamese Students Association, the Korean American Students at Yale and the Japanese American Students Union also helped organize the event.
“Lunar Ball is not just a dance to jam out to music but also a chance to learn about different cultures,” said co-moderator of TAS Tiffany Liao ’22. “We had cultural booths and food to share with everyone— it was, in a sense, almost educational.”
According to CASA co-president Ashley Fan ’22, the Lunar Ball is one of the largest student-organized events celebrating the Asian-American community each year. Students were encouraged to wear traditional clothing— and many students arrived dressed in qipao gowns or cheongsam shirts.
Event coordinators began planning early in the semester. With funding from the Asian American Cultural Center and the Council on East Asian Studies, the organizers were able to make the celebration free of charge for all guests. Early registrants also were entered into a raffle for tickets to Escape New Haven.
Like in years past, the event was hosted by Chuan Du Hot Pot, despite changes in ownership.
“I know I was really anxious and nervous before the event because I had no idea how many people would venture out in the cold to attend, but I am so glad so many people did!” Liao said.
Lunar New Year is a homecoming for many families in countries celebrating the holiday. CASA and TAS organizers said they hoped to create a similar sense of community among Asian-American students at Yale.
“We wanted to create a sense of a second home away from home,” Liao said.
Various Asian American student organizations, including JASU and KASY, hosted their own booths during the night with snacks and activities. While most students clustered on the dance floor, others tried their hand at traditional rope knotting, a handicraft art form that decorates many Asian families’ homes around the New Year.
Since the inaugural event in 2018, the event has drawn increasingly large student turnouts. At times, the 200-person venue reached capacity, with a line forming out the door.
“Everything during the night went very smoothly — we brought a tray of spring rolls to share with attendees … We had a great time and were glad to see many of our members out on the dance floor having fun as well!” shared representatives of the Vietnamese Students Association.
Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 25 this year.
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Correction, Feb. 20: A previous version of this article referred to TAS as TASA.