Chinese New Year starts off with a bang

Thousands of Asian Americans celebrated Chinese New Year with happiness and joy on Jan. 28. Chinese New Year, often called the Lunar New Year, represents the turn of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. Each lunar year has a zodiac symbol. The past year was a monkey, and now this year is the year of the rooster.

This sacred holiday dates back thousands of years in China, when the traditional agrarian society could only rest and take a break during this time of year.

Asian Americans rang in the new year with actions that bring good luck and prosperity. From the food eaten to the traditions practiced, all symbolize bringing in prosperity. For example, families celebrate over feasts of steamed fish for good luck, dumplings and spring rolls for wealth, and noodles for a long life. Red is the primary color exhibited throughout the holiday, on decorations and clothing, because it symbolizes a fresh and positive start. Family members pass around red envelopes to each other filled with money that symbolize best wishes, almost like the equivalent of Western greeting cards.

“I celebrated by being with my family and enjoying their company over hot-pot, and passing out red envelopes, “ said senior Jennifer Ng.

As there are many Asian Americans here in the Bay Area, many come together at parades and festivals to celebrate. Dragon dances often occur at these gatherings, in which gold and red fuzzy dragons dance and jump about the streets, handing out red envelopes and spreading joy. These energetic dancers prance to loud and rhythmic drumming, which serves its purpose not only as music to dance to, but to scare away bad omens.

“I mainly celebrated with my family over dinner, but I also enjoyed the festivities of lion dances and firecrackers in Oakland’s Chinatown,” senior Sarah Lau commented.

The Lunar New Year brings a wave of new beginnings to many Asian cultures, and we wish all a prosperous, wealthy, and lucky new year.

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