NW uplifts Chinese culture, symbolism

staff reporter

Student Activities celebrated the Year of the Dragon at NW Campus Feb. 7, with a display that offered students the chance to learn about the Chinese Zodiac  with gifts that symbolize prosperity for the new year. 

“It’s symbolic of power, confidence and intelligence. Eastern people believe these are characteristics of the dragon which is why they want to celebrate it and be together,” said Panya Chaibulom, Student Development Coordinator at NW Campus. “I want students to know more about the Chinese Zodiac. There are 12 animals in it, they can learn what year they are and after they can find out more information. I also want them to know why oranges and red envelopes are given out. There is meaning in that as well.” 

Chaibulom explained that the word “orange” in the Mandarin language sounds similar to the word “wealth”, causing the two to become entwined as a symbol of fortune, making it a popular gift to celebrate the new year.  

The red envelopes are typically filled with money that is representative of good wishes and fortune for the year to come. The meaning is not only found in the currency that is gifted, but also in the color of the envelope itself, red is considered a lucky color in Chinese and other Eastern cultures. Student activities replicated this custom with chocolate golden coins inside their own red envelopes.  

“Showing different cultures to other people allows people to be more educated about different things, I definitely didn’t know about Year of the Dragon, but now I do, and I feel like I have more insight on that kind of thing now,” said NW student Aaron Trevino, who is also a member of Student Activities and a now proud Year of the Horse representative. 

TR student Brittany Frye said she was happy there were free snacks and that the atmosphere and attendees were so welcoming.  

“I think it’s so important to learn about everybody’s culture including one that you have probably never heard of because we’re all in this together,” she said.  

Student activities also offered a raffle for participating students with the prize being one of two stuffed dragon plushies.  

Students that participated should anticipate an email notifying them whether they won the sole remaining dragon sometime within the week.