By Karynn Brown
Feb. 21, 2019

Lincoln’s Asian Community and Cultural Center is working hard in the coming weeks to bring another Lunar New Year celebration to the city of Lincoln. A team of organizers and volunteers will transform the Lancaster Event Center into a fair of food, song, dance and New Year celebrations on February 23rd. The free event takes place from 1 until 4 p.m. and welcomes all people and cultures to celebrate the Lunar New Year together.

The ACCC is a local organization which specializes in serving the immigrant and refugee communities of Lincoln while sharing cultural experiences with everyone. The Lunar New Year, alongside the Harvest Moon Festival, is one of the organization’s largest events all year. The organization also holds classes and clubs throughout the year to support immigrant populations. The ACCC has resources for filing taxes, internships, leadership, and family relationship support. Since opening in 1992, the ACCC has been celebrating the Lunar New Year in Lincoln.

Rebecca Reinhart, program coordinator for the ACCC, helped change the celebration from a Vietnamese New Year to the Lunar New Year in 2015 as a chance to expand the event to more cultures. “Our mission is to serve a shared cultural heritage in the community,” says Reinhart.

In its fourth year as the Lunar New Year festival, this event has seen over 1,100 people in attendance, which prompted the move from Antelope Park to the Lancaster Event Center in 2018.

1,200 people are expected at the February 23rd celebration, which will feature 20 local organization and activity booths, foods from seven different countries, and eleven cultural performances. Free health screenings will also be available for attendees.

New activities and more information booths set up by local organizations promise to make this Year of the Pig event extra special. Attendees will be able to see and participate in a Karen fabric weaving activity, as well as dumpling making, and a Chineses writing demonstration.

2019 celebrates the Year of the Pig; a symbol of wealth, peace, and happiness for the coming year. The Year of the Pig is the last in a 12-year Zodiac cycle of animals including the rat, snake, dragon, and ox.

Every year the ACCC aims to involve more cultural groups and local organizations in the event. This year’s line-up includes five new dance groups: UNL Impundu Dance Troupe, UNL Ballroom Dancing, UNL Hip Hop Dancing, Omaha Nepali Dance Group, and Jewel in the Lotus Dance Group. The involvement of these Omaha and UNL dance groups emphasizes a chance for community and cultural exchange, giving the groups another space to perform in and a chance to reach out to cultures not usually included in the Lunar New Year.

Several favorite acts will also be returning to the Lunar New Year stage including a Vietnamese song and dance by the Ling Quang Youth Group, the QiPao Fashion Show by the Lincoln Chinese Association, and a martial arts showcase by Jing Mo Tong Athletics Association. These loyal groups help to build and continuously support the mission of the Lunar New Year.

Reinhardt emphasizes the event as a chance for family, friends, and neighbors to gather and celebrate together. “We hope our event brings people joy and a chance to bring good luck in the new year.”

Karynn Brown is an editorial intern with KZUM.