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MC Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage

Asian Pacific Heritage event

The MC Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Committee is a college-wide committee comprised of faculty, staff and students whose purpose is to plan various activities at the college that bring awareness to the diversity and accomplishment of Asian-Pacific people. The committee also informs on issues and opportunities, outside of the college, that are important to the Asian-Pacific community.

 Every year, the committee provides the college community with opportunities to participate in cultural programming, to share knowledge, and to learn more about contributions of Asian-Pacific people. Among our annual events is the Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Kick-off Festival held in April, which is also the capstone event.

Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Kick-off Festival

Each year, we host our Asian-Pacific Heritage Month event at the College. The event includes exhibits, presentations, entertainment, and food samples for students, faculty, and staff. The Asian-Pacific Heritage Month is sponsored by the Global Connections, MC Asian Heritage Committee, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring International and Multicultural Student Center.

2022 Kick-Off Festival

As we head into May, which is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the MC Asian-Pacific Heritage Planning Committee and the MC International & Multicultural Center would like to invite MC employees and students to our 2022 Virtual Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Kick-Off Festival.

This year’s virtual event, we invite you to grab your virtual passport and go on a tour with us to some of Asia's most famous places. You'll learn more about the Borobudur Temple Compounds (Indonesia), education in Vietnam and Sri Lanka, Mount Fuji, and more!

Start your Virtual Asian-Pacific Heritage Festival Tour!

Events and News Bulletin

The Asian Pacific American Heritage Planning Committee members, volunteers, and supporters gathered on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at the Rockville Campus to celebrate the committee's six years milestone. 

The Planning Committee wants to thank all members, volunteers, and supporters for their work the last six years. We could not have done it without you!

And we hope to see you next year (2023) on the Rockville Campus for our annual Asian Pacific Kick-Off Event, which will once again be in person!

asian pacific luncheon
asian pacific luncheon

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the MC Asian Pacific Heritage Planning Committee would like to invite
faculty, staff, and students to a special origami event. Attend this event and learn a brief history of origami, and you will also learn
how to fold some origami.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 3:00-4:00 PM, via Zoom
View event flyer (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

If you missed the event, go to the Kick-Off website to view the event recording.

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the MC Asian Heritage Planning Committee would like to
invite faculty, staff, and students to a special poetry event with author Nghi Nguyen. He will share and discuss a few of his poems from his newly published book, Into the Night: A Collection of Poems.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM, via Zoom
View event flyer (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

If you missed the event, go to the Kick-Off website to view the event recording.

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.

In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.

View some facts from the Census Bureau about the Asian American and Pacific Islander communitynew window

The Lunar New Year is the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world. The holiday is tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar and was originally observed as a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors.

Today, Lunar New Year is a special time to bring friends and family together for feasting and festivities in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia and other countries all over the world. (Information taken from Center for International Affairs - Lunar New Year website.)

Watch the video to learn some fun facts about the Lunar New Year.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year, known as “Tết”, is the biggest celebration of the year for Vietnamese around the world.

During Vietnamese Tết, Bánh Tét (or the original Bánh Chưng) is a must-have traditional food. It demonstrates the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture as well as historical value. The Tết holiday must have “Bánh Chưng” which was invented by Prince Lang Lieu from Hung King Dynasty to symbolize the earth. Bánh Tét or Bánh Chưng is often served with pickles including white radish, chili peppers, carrots, and leeks.

The ingredients for Bánh Tét and Bánh Chưng are mostly the same: sweet rice, mung beans, and pork and wrapped in banana leaves and tightened up with strings. Bánh Tét is a cylindrical-shaped rice cake while Bánh Chưng is a square-shaped rice cake. In addition, Bánh Tét is made in two ways with these core ingredients: 1) Sweet rice with banana (banana Bánh Tét) for vegetarian is made with shredded coconut and red/black beans; 2) Sweet rice with pork (pork Bánh Tét) is made with pork and red/black beans or mung beans. 

Depending on how you have prepared the ingredients prior to wrapping them up with banana leaves, the banana Bánh Tét usually takes about six hours while the pork Bánh Tét could take over eight hours. The process of making Bánh Tét provides an opportunity for family members to bond and come together to celebrate the holiday spirit.

Watch a video to see how the Banh Tet is wrapped.

red lucky envelope

During Lunar New Year, it is a Chinese tradition to give out red envelopes (known as 紅包, hóngbāo), which is a gift of money inserted into an ornate small red pocket of paper. The significance of red envelopes is the red paper, rather than the money inside. The red color symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity in Chinese cultures. The red envelope (money) is also called “压岁钱 ya sui qian”, which translates to “suppressing the folktale demon, Sui’s money”. Thus, wrapping money in red envelopes means to bestow peace, happiness, and blessings on the receivers in the year to come. 

As a custom, only new and crisp notes are used in the red envelopes signifying a new beginning in a new year. Today in China, red envelopes are going digital with people sending digital red envelopes through smartphone apps. The amount given in red envelopes usually includes the number ‘8’, such as $8, $18, or $28,  because the pronunciation of ‘eight’ in Chinese sounds like luck and prosperity, and never ever includes the number ‘4’ which sounds like death.

Usually grandparents and parents gift their children and grandchildren red envelopes with money on Chinese New Year’s Eve or New Year's Day. Red envelopes can be given out during first 16 days of Chinese New Year (from New Year's Eve to the Lantern Festival). Always receive a red envelope politely with both hands and return with the New Year greeting 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái, meaning 'happiness and prosperity'). Lastly, never open your red envelope in the presence of the giver, but only in private. Remember the significance of red envelopes is the red paper, not the money inside. 

恭喜发财, Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái, in the Year of the Tiger.

Learn more about the tradition on the Red Envelopes: Red Envelopes in Chinese New Yearnew window | Red Envelopes Symbolism in Chinese Culturenew window

Korean (Sebae)

세배 (sebae) is the most important of all the Korean Lunar New Year traditions. Sebae is the act of kneeling on the ground and bowing deeply so that your hands are also on the ground. Younger adults/children must bow deeply to their elders and wish them a happy new year. This deep traditional bow signifies respect. People often wear 한복 (hanbok), traditional Korean clothes, whilst performing sebae.

To describe the act of sebae, the verb 드리다 (deurida) is used. For example 세배 드렸어요 (sebae deuryeosseoyo) would mean ‘I did the sebae bow’. When bowing, you can say 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (saehae bok mani badeuseyo), which means ‘Have lots of luck in the new year’.

After receiving a bow from the younger adults/children, the elders then say something along the lines of ‘I hope you stay healthy this year’ or ‘I hope you get married this year’. Elders typically reward the younger adults/children with money, known as 세뱃돈 (sebaetdon). This money is often given inside an envelope.

Learn more about Korean Lunar New Year - Seollal(설날) traditionsnew window.

APIA Scholarship Program

APIA Scholars offers a range of scholarships to support APIA students. Scholarship awards range from one-time $2,500 awards to multi-year $20,000 awards. APIA Scholars provides scholarships to underserved APIA students with a special focus on those who:

  • Live at or below the poverty level, or are otherwise of low socioeconomic status;
  • Are the first in their families to attend college;
  • Are representative of the APIA community’s diversity, (geographically and ethnically}, especially those ethnicities that have been underrepresented on college campuses due to limited access and opportunity; and
  • Have placed a strong emphasis on community service and leadership as well as solid academic achievement.

Visit APIA Scholarsnew window for information on how to apply.

Kimmy Duong Hardship Grant Program Application

In order to help the families of the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area, who are in economic hardship, Kimmy Duong Foundation will provide the following aid:

The amount of aid for each family: $500 or $1,000

The following conditions apply:

  • Heads of household with income under 150% of the federal poverty line, who are experiencing economic hardship (see table below)
  • Residing and working in the Virginia, Maryland and DC area.
  • Maximum 20 grants per month.
  • Limit one grant per family per year.

Visit the KDF Hardship Grant websitenew window for additional information.

The Long Nguyen and Kimmy Duong Scholarship Program

Each scholarship will be $1,000-$2,000 annually.  The scholarship is renewable annually for up to 4 years, for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree. *** 3 Gold scholarships will be reserved for Vietnamese students from Vietnam, who have been accepted to US universities ***

Visit the KDF Scholarship Programnew window for more information.

MC Asian Heritage Planning Committee

Are you interested in being on the MCAH Committee? We are always looking for more ideas to make the Heritage Month Kick-off Festival a fun and learning experience for employees and students at the College. If you want to join the committee or have questions, please send an email to the Asian Heritage Planning Committee!

Committee Members
Nghi Nguyen (Chair), Kaylin Nguyen (Vice Chair), Eniola Olowofoyeku (Coordinator), Sharmini Azeez, Urvi Mistry, Van Tong, Thanh King