Lions for Lunar New Year

The Asian Students in America group held its second annual Night Market Saturday night.

The event took place in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom with music from Asian artists such as BLACKPINK and Joji playing as attendees entered. Trifolds on tables with information about various Asian countries lined the outside of the room while performances took place on the stage. A miniature “Wishing Tree” stood in the center with cards and pens out for attendees to write their own wishes for the Lunar New Year and hang from the tree’s branches. The wishes ranged from hopes of positivity to health and wealth.

The night kicked off with a lion dance by the Twin Cities-based group the DTG Lions, named for their church Doan Thanh Giu Se. The Lion Dance features dancers in a bright-colored, structured lion costume worn by multiple people to create a full body movement effect. 

Minh Pham, the group’s co-captain, said the dance tells a story of lions warning off bad spirits.

“Traditionally, it’s a way to kind of scare off the bad fortune coming in for the year up ahead and bring fortune and good luck in,” Pham said.

The dance is traditionally done on the Lunar New Year to bring good luck. According to Minh, the mythical monsters attacked an ancient village but were scared off by their reflection in the lions’ mirrors. This legend says the monsters never came back, but people continue to dress as the lions to prevent their bad fortune from impacting the year ahead. 

After the DTG Lions ASIA’s board members lined up on stage to introduce themselves, their group and their emcees, before drawing raffle tickets for prizes. Following the raffle came the various performances, which included singing, dancing and an encore performance by the DTG Lions.

ASIA’s president, Emily Vo, said this night market event is held around the Lunar New Year.

“We base it around the time of year because it’s around the Lunar New Year, which is very common in Asian countries. The goal is to make it annual and I think we did a really good job expanding the event this year compared to last year. So there’s more to come,” Vo said.

After the Lion Dance, ASIA’s board members took to the stage and had a moment of silence for the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, which occurred at a dance studio the previous week during a Lunar New Year Festival.

“Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the victims,” said Michelle Pha, ASIA’s activities coordinator, as the room fell into a silence that juxtaposed the night’s sprightly and colorful energy.

Their next event will be the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival which will take place later this year.

Header photo:The Lion Dance was performed in the CSU Ballroom as a part of the Lunar New Year celebrations at the Asian night Market Saturday. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Carly Bahr at

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