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Taiwanese Student Association Leuven Celebrates a Traditional Holiday Creatively

Strava Art Challenge winning entry

The Lunar New Year and the Lantern Festival, held on the first full moon of the New Year, are important family times in Taiwan, and Taiwanese students abroad usually return home to spend time and celebrate these major cultural events with their loved ones. The continued travel restrictions forced the Taiwanese students in Belgium to break with tradition this year and find other ways to celebrate, and enjoy these holidays locally.

They did this very creatively. 

The Lantern Festival was on February 27 and leading up to it, the Taiwanese Student Association of Leuven (TSA Leuven) arranged the Strava Art Challenge. Participating students had to use a path recording application called Strava to draw patterns and make ‘lantern riddles’. They uploaded their “drawings” to the TSA Facebook-page for other students to guess what they represented. 

On the Lantern Festival the students all voted on the top three. The winning entry was a Strava-drawing of a dumpling, a favorite food from home, and the runner-up was … well, readers can decide whether it represents a buffalo for the new year of the buffalo, or a rat from the just ended year of the rat.  

The Lantern Festival is traditionally a time to unite and enjoy good food together but the current pandemic prevention regulations don’t allow that. With the support of the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, TSA Leuven worked with two local Taiwanese restaurant and issued its members with coupons to pick up a sumptuous New Year’s meal box.

Although socially distanced, the students managed to enjoy a range of wonderful tastes from home, including braised pork, pineapple shrimp balls, and chicken soup with sesame oil. 
The catering industry and restaurants are all going through difficult times because of the pandemic, so TSA Leuven was very happy to support the local Taiwanese restaurants and hopes they can weather this crisis to continue to offer their delicious food to locals. The Taiwanese students were really happy with the holiday event, and their New Year meal boxes were a special treat.