UMass Taiwanese and Chinese Student Association hosts Lunar New Year event

“Our core mission is to celebrate the vibrant Taiwanese and Chinese heritage and to spread greater multicultural awareness”


Judith Gibson-Okunieff

By Patrick Nie, Collegian Staff

The University of Massachusetts Taiwanese Chinese Student Association held its annual Lunar

New Year celebration on Thursday night over Zoom, combining the holiday celebration with its

spring general interest meeting.


The meeting kicked off with a brief announcement about UMass’ Asian and Asian

American Studies Certificate Program, a certificate that serves to provide students with “a

thorough understanding of both Asian and Asian American histories, experiences and

contemporary issues,” according to the program website.


TCSA president and junior mathematics and informatics major Sonny Mei then briefed

attendees on the organization’s mission before elaborating on the significance of the Lunar New



TCSA is one of the few Asian RSOs at UMass Amherst,” Mei said. “Our core mission is to

celebrate the vibrant Taiwanese and Chinese heritage and to spread greater multicultural

awareness and solidarity to all students at UMass and its surrounding communities in general.”

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese zodiac calendar and is celebrated

by several other Asian countries including Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea. The holiday

involves traditions such as giving each other red envelopes, which are viewed as a symbol of

luck. 2021 is Year of the Ox.


“Lunar New Year is just one of the few holidays that allows you to provide students a place — a

safe space or even just a place in general — to represent their cultures,” Mei said. “In person,

we’d have calligraphy and all these red envelope-making activities to represent Lunar New



“I think Lunar New Year is really important because it allows students to be in a community

where they can celebrate their culture and represent their identity with students who are like

them,” Mei continued.


In the latter half of the event, attendees joined one of two breakout room activities: a

roulette-style red envelope game where participants vied for prizes, and a Chinese zodiac

information session where participants received in-depth analyses of their zodiac signs.

Nicholas Szeto, a sophomore studying biology and biochemistry, attended the event.


“It was a great event to attend, especially given the circumstances that everything is online and

we aren’t able to have in-person gatherings for the Lunar New Year,” Szeto said. “I especially

liked the red envelope roulette because it brought back memories of joy when receiving a red

envelope and not knowing what was inside.”


The Taiwanese and Chinese Student Association is gearing up for its annual Cultural Market

Night held in March, which will feature student performances and other activities, as well as a

celebrity guest artist.


Patrick Nie can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @patrickleinie.