Celebrating the Year of the Tiger


Robert Fish

International students gathered in the Cushing common room to celebrate.

Ellie Yang and Marianna Gu

For over 3,000 years, countries in Asia have celebrated the Lunar new year. Masters’ international students from across the continent have continued this tradition away from home. Their celebrations have been impacted by the travel restrictions enforced during the pandemic as returning home becomes near impossible. However, students are still planning on celebrating with others as they step into the year of the Tiger. 

The Lunar New Year at Masters brings people together for a holiday that is usually celebrated differently in different countries. In China, families gather to eat dumplings, set off fireworks, and countdown to familiar songs played on a nationally aired TV Gala. 

In Mongolia, the festival is referred to as Tsagaan Sar (white moon festival), and the celebrations look a little different. Dayan Battulga, a junior and international student from Mongolia, said, “First, we have lunch with our family. Your parents sit there and there’s this blue scarf that you greet each other with… after that you eat traditional food. Then you go around to all your family and greet them. And this is throughout the course of three days.”

This year, though unable to go home, Battulga will be taking New Year’s Eve, which is on Monday, Jan. 31, off to celebrate with his sister in New York City. All International students are allowed to be excused for the first three periods on Jan. 31 to celebrate New Year with their families and watch the New Year’s Gala. Some international students will also watch the Gala together in Cushing, the co-ed senior dorm.

I think it’s good to celebrate the new year with your friends or classmates. Because in some ways they are your families.

— Liu


Luke Zhu, the co-chair of the International Club, said, “On Monday, some students are taking a day off to celebrate the Lunar New Year in China’s time. I personally will celebrate the festival with my family and watch the New Year’s Gala, as we normally do in China.” 

While some are taking the day off to celebrate, others are choosing to attend school and celebrate in the afternoon with friends. Junior August Liu, who is choosing the latter, said, “I think it’s good to celebrate the new year with your friends or classmates. Because in some ways they are your families. I’m a boarder, so I spend a lot of time with them and not with my families.” 

Junior Jack Li echoed Liu’s sentiments. “For this year, because we cannot go home, I will probably celebrate with my friends and prepare the ingredients for hotpot as the New Year’s dinner,” he said.

The International Club will also be hosting a celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 1 in the Sharon Room. Zhu, said, “We will host different activities such as practicing Chinese calligraphy, a traditional Chinese writing through which we want to promote cultural exchange between students, and also we will be handing out red envelopes (in the form of lottery) and making bracelets, a welcoming activity for all.”

Liu and many of his friends will be attending this celebration. He said, “ I really feel like the teachers here care about Chinese New Year. And the people leading the International Club, they care about this even though some of them are not Chinese. So I feel like the vibe is good.”