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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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News and Events
News and Events

Trojans gather to celebrate Lunar New Year
January 31, 2022

Participants from 9 countries share, reflect and engage in occupations to mark the holiday.

China Initiative Community and Partners Diversity, Access, Equity Events Faculty International Students

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By Danny Park

Photo of students celebrating the Lunar New Year

Students celebrating the Lunar New Year (photo/courtesy of Cheng Kai (Jason) Lin)

Nearly 50 students and faculty from the USC Chan Division and Peking University Health Science Center gathered together online to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday on Jan. 28. The Lunar New Year is an important holiday observed by more than 1.5 billion people around the world, and it holds special meaning for many in the Chan community.

“Lunar New Year is truly a time where childhood memories flow back to you,” said Maggie Chen MA ’20, OTD ’22, a doctoral resident currently working with USC Chan’s Global Initiatives. “Though many of us weren’t able to celebrate it with our families overseas due to the pandemic this year, I am grateful for the opportunity to create new memories with my family here at USC Chan.”

Hailing from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and the United States, they joined together for a time of sharing and reflecting on the meanings of the 15-day-long holiday.

Participants also joined in cultural festivities such as making red envelopes, learning about Zodiac signs, engaging in cultural games and activities and assembling spring rolls, a traditional delicacy eaten on the holiday because of associations with good luck, wealth and prosperity.

Photo of bowl of soup about to be eaten

Enjoying the Lunar New Year with a bowl of Khao Soi from the Silver Lake House (photo/courtesy of Brendan La Scala)

“Lunar New Year is the most important festival in China, and it is time for a family reunion,” said Zhaowen Zhou OTD ’22, a doctoral resident in the PKUHSC–USC dual degree program. “This was the first time I celebrated this festival in another country, and I was so moved when I saw my friends in the USC Chan Division wearing red clothes and expressing their wishes, just like how my family celebrates Lunar New Year.”

The Lunar New Year celebration also stands as a showcase for USC Chan’s China Initiative and the PKUHSC–USC dual degree program, in which students take two years of courses at PKUHSC in Beijing to earn a master’s degree in rehabilitation therapy with an occupational therapy emphasis, followed by one year in Los Angeles to earn USC’s post-professional clinical doctorate program.

Screenshot of participants in Zoom meeting

More than 50 USC Chan students and faculty joined via Zoom to celebrate the Lunar New Year (screenshot/courtesy of Maggie Chen)

“The Lunar New Year Celebration is such a meaningful event, especially this year as we were able to virtually celebrate with our PKUHSC-USC OTD Dual-Degree Residents here, and PKUHSC friends and affiliates in China,” said Calvin Lee MA ’21, OTD ’22, a current doctoral resident working with the USC Chan China Initiative. “To be able to share this experience with cultures represented around the world truly reflects the China Initiative’s priorities of building and strengthening international partnerships.”

Happy Lunar New Year — the Year of the Tiger — to all our friends from around the world! Click below to watch our students and faculty offer their reflections and greetings!