Asian American Union (AAU) is presenting its second-annual Night Market event in the Cataldo Globe Room on the Lunar New Year this Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter if you are that identity or if you’re just interested in it,” said Tara Phung, AAU president. “It’s just being able to welcome everybody that’s interested in learning more about the traditions, the culture.”
This year, under Phung’s leadership, the club has focused on a different aspect of Asian culture at every meeting. Most recently, it has discussed and learned about New Year’s traditions.
“It’s being able to have your voices heard in a space where people will listen,” Phung said.
The theme of New Year’s traditions will be continued into the night festival, where attendees will experience traditional food, games and performances.
“[This] symbolizes a new experience and learning opportunity,” Phung said.
Phung is eager to share a new and different New Year’s experience and meaning with students who may have only ever experienced the Jan. 1 holiday.
The event will feature performances from two local groups in Spokane, the Spokane Vietnamese Buddhist youth group and the Spokane Hmong Association youth group, that will be sharing cultural dances.
The Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Group will be performing a traditional lion dance, which is a form of martial arts, Phung said.
Tia Moua is a junior at GU, as well as a member of the Hmong dance group.
“We will be performing a Thai dance and Chinese dance with fans, which is super fun,” Moua said.“I’ll be performing a mix of a few K-pop dance covers with some other friends,”
The rest of the performances will be from other GU students.
GSBA President Michael Tanaka and former AAU President Melina Benjamin will perform their piece from the 2019 Diversity Monologues event. Additionally, the night will include a fashion show.
“The Night Market is a way for AAU to share Asian culture and traditions with Gonzaga and the Spokane community,” said Lani Abrams, Night Market chair. “I think this is a perfect way to be immersed and introduced to the Asian community. You get to eat amazing food, and watch beautiful traditional dances of the Asian culture.”
Phung said students should attend because “coming into 2020, we all celebrate New Year’s, but being able to learn another aspect of what New Year’s means to different communities is an important learning experience.”
Exposing yourself to a new atmosphere is something Phung said she believes is crucial for personal development and the Night Market is an opportunity to get that exposure.
Previous Night Market attendees are already looking forward to this year’s event as a way to immerse themselves in a learning opportunity that takes place outside of the classroom.
Junior Tayler Chin is planning on attending again this year. Last year’s Night Market “made a memorable mark on [her] Gonzaga experience,” she said.
Moua said she is excited for her group’s hard work to come to fruition.
“I am looking forward to sharing my Hmong culture with the Gonzaga community through dancing,” she said.
Aside from cultural dances and a fashion show, the Night Market will have traditional food that attendees can purchase using Bulldog Bucks, cash or card. Each dish will cost $3 per portion. Food options will include egg rolls, fried rice, meat dishes and mango sticky rice.
The Night Market will provide both students and the Spokane community members with food, entertainment and a plethora of activities.