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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Students Celebrate the Thai New Year with Food and Dance

Qalidra+Sengsoury%2C+Sandy+Vongsarath%2C+and+Samantha+Petborisooth+perform+a+traditional+Thai+dance.+%28Signal+Photo%2FNathan+Hartwell%29

Qalidra Sengsoury, Sandy Vongsarath, and Samantha Petborisooth perform a traditional Thai dance. (Signal Photo/Nathan Hartwell)

This past week, students at Stan State had a chance to enjoy some Thai food with their friends at the celebration of the Thai/Lao/Cambodian New Year put on by the Asian Connection Club.
According to National Geographic, Songkran is the festival marking the New Year in Thailand. Both Lao and Cambodian also call it Songkran, but also have their own names for it.
In Lao, they call it Pi Mai and in Cambodian they call it Khmer. In all three countries it is a festival that takes place in April at the end of the harvest to celebrate the new year. It is observed as a water festival.
The Asian Connection Club was started on campus back during the COVID lockdown.
According to the current President Qalidra Sengsoury (Junior, Liberal Studies) the purpose of the club is the following: “We advocate and highlight the various Asian communities that make up our campus community. We do that by celebrating different Asian cultures and holidays, and having presentations that relate information about them.”
Sengsoury was the main driving force behind the ACC holding this event. She is part Thai and part Lao along with two other board members who are Thai. She felt like those in the community were not well represented and that not many events are related to their culture; and so they felt holding an event for the Thai New Year would help celebrate their community.
The event was held this past week on April 16 in the Mary Stuart Rogers building. It was well-attended, with more people than they were expecting. Over 30 people came to enjoy time with their friends and celebrate the Thai New Year.
The event began with everyone sitting down to enjoy food with friends. They served papaya salad, which is the national dish of Laos.
Another dish served was sticky rice which is enjoyed in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Chicken wings, egg rolls and Pad Thai were also served.
Food seemed to be a common reason people came to the event. Muskaan Ali (English, Sophomore) describes why she went to the event.
“Get to experience that Thai, Lao, and Cambodian cuisine,” she said.
Sara Cisneros (Liberal Studies, Junior), another attendee, also really enjoyed the food.
“I really like the food because it’s not something that I would eat on a normal basis because I’m Mexican,” she said.
Elia Vustos (English, Junior) saw the food as more than just food. She described it as related to culture.
“Food is something that is part of culture as a whole so trying food that is tied with culture makes it all the much better to eat,” said Vustos.
Another activity they had at the event was a cultural performance put on by Sengsoury and two other members of the council for the ACC. She described Thai/Lao/Cambodian dancing as “dancing with your hands.”
Sengsoury described what she hoped students would get out of the event.
“I hope that they learned something and that maybe the next time they hear about Lao, Thai or Cambodian culture, they’re going to maybe even recognize that word, that place, the food,” Sengsoury said.
Cisneros shows that they seemed to be successful with that goal.
“I hope to learn more about the traditions of Thai, Lao, and Cambodian new year. And I think I did,” she said.
The ACC is open to anyone who is willing to come.
“Something we try to stress is that you don’t have to be Asian to join the club and to learn about Asian culture,” Sengsoury said.
You can find out more about the Club through their Warrior Life page and find out about upcoming events they are putting on.
If you want to check out other events put on by the ACC, they have one coming up at the end of the month. It is called Hanami: Enjoying the Cherry Blossoms Together. It will be on April 26 in Bizzini 202, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

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Students Celebrate the Thai New Year with Food and Dance