Heritage Learner New Year’s Eve Dinner

A busy evening full of laughter and learning!

On the evening of Thursday, January 23rd, the Chinese Language Program’s heritage classes gathered together in the Asian Centre Auditorium for the Inaugural Lunar New Year’s Eve Potluck and celebration. Our turn-out of nearly 100 people consisted of not only the heritage students, but also their friends, and family as well.

Food, glorious food!

Nothing makes parents happier than seeing their kids learn and thrive

A beautiful evening full of good wishes for the new year

Yum yum! Let the feasting begin!

Considering the variety of backgrounds that our heritage students come from, it is unsurprising that they each have very different traditions when it comes to celebrating the New Year. The Lunar New Year is typically a time of gathering and celebration with family and friends. However, many of our students were unable to return home to celebrate with their families. This year’s New Year’s dinner was hosted to provide them with a home away from home, with friends both old and new. It was also an opportunity for many of our Heritage students to learn more about Chinese culture and explore the significance of Lunar New Year; not only for themselves but also making the event important for their peers.


“The Heritage LNY dinner was a great opportunity to experience the UBC Chinese language department festive spirit as it brought forth not only students but teachers and teaching assistants to interact in activities such as games, eating together, and the chance to meet other people in different classes. In summary, it has not only forged stronger bonds with people within my class but also created new bonds for those that I may meet again in the future.” — Eric Leung, 2nd Year Science student, Mathematics 

Laughter is medicine for the soul

A plate of good food and a table of good friends. What more could you ask for?

Together, we enjoyed a variety of delicious dishes brought by the attendees, some of them homemade. These included: a very memorable malaguo, rice cakes, east-meets-west Chinese takeout, and a durian cheesecake. Of course, dinner wouldn’t be complete without dumplings, a New Year’s tradition. As in many cultures, food is a connecting factor and unites people who come from many backgrounds. Students ate and chatted about what Lunar New Year meant to them as well as their sentiments and reflections on Chinese Language learning. Students also chatted about their cultures at home.

Play Canon in D, but make it Rock and Roll!

After everyone helped themselves to seconds (and thirds!), the Asian Centre Auditorium transformed into a space for festivities. One of our talented students performed a spectacular rock edition of Canon in D on the electric guitar, a piece that many probably remembered from childhood piano classes. As the applause died down, the room gathered for an intense game of hot potato. Laughter was heard, along with some screams, as the “potato” – a stuffed rat – was rapidly passed around the circle. Whomever it landed on at the end of each round would either teach the room a phrase in their dialect or guess the meaning of a Chinese idiom. Hilarity ensued as students and volunteers struggled to remember New Year’s greetings in their dialects and guess what “a rat that crosses the street” meant. 

Don’t drop the Rat/Potato!


Each person got to bring home a red pocket — a little bit of luck to take home!

Our evening of festivities closed with red envelopes being drawn by the attendees, containing different prizes. Thus, our heritage students went home, full of good food, fun memories, and, hopefully, having gained a greater understanding of what the Chinese New Year means. 

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