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The Lunar New Year

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Thuy Pham and Brooklyn Hollander

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Chinese New Year, derived from the lunar calendar began on Saturday, January 28th. It is actually the Lunar New Year, though many mistake this for the Chinese New Year. This is because the lunar calendar and celebrations that occur on this day are heavily tied to Chinese astrology. Each year assigned to one of twelve animals, each with different characteristics that help Chinese astrologists to predict occurrences for the upcoming years. These twelve animals include the pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, the rooster, and the dog. According to Chinese astrologists, 2017 is the year of the rooster. This year will be a powerful one that is constantly moving forward.
Decorations for the Lunar New Year consist of lots of red and gold. These colors are considered the traditional colors when celebrating the new year. In China and some parts of the United States, those who celebrate the Lunar New Year celebrate with firecrackers and dancing dragons. Dancing dragons are men or women who dress up with colorful pants and hide under dragon costumes and perform for spectators. Drummers on the side beat drums for dragons to dance to. Additionally, spectators are given the opportunity to “feed” red envelopes filled with money or tangerines the dragons. This will supposedly bring them luck for the new year.
The Lunar New Year is filled with many different types of traditions, such as the “lucky” red envelopes, the importance of tangerines, and for Buddhists, eating vegetarian for a whole day. These traditions all arise from Chinese and Buddhists beliefs that have been developed since ancient time and are still practiced today. The “lucky” red envelopes are gifted to the children by adults to bless them for the new year. The children recite small speeches and the adults will then bless them for the new year. Red envelopes are usually filled with generous amounts of money. But, why the tangerines? Tangerines sound very similar to the Chinese word for “luck,” so when you feed the dragons tangerines or when you eat the tangerines, you and the dragons are consuming luck. For Buddhists, eating vegetarian is extremely important. They aren’t allowed to consume onions or garlic. One of the main reasons Buddhists don’t eat meat on this day is because they believe that they should not be taking animals for granted and instead eat vegetables to show their appreciation.
The Lunar New Year is not all about the Chinese and Buddhists beliefs, as it is celebrated in many different countries around the world. It is mostly celebrated in China, California, and New York, where the Asian populations are more concentrated than in other parts of the world. In China, everyone leaves their home and goes into the streets to participate in the festivities. There are street food stands, dancing dragons, and beating drums everywhere. In California, where there are also many Asians, Lunar New Year is very big as well, though not as much as in China. In New York, there are parades and fun activities that showcase what the Lunar New Year is all about. People from other states in the US will sometimes travel to these states to experience the cultural festivities.
Lunar New Year is a time that many people around the world look forward to. For many Asians, the Lunar New Year is like Christmas in America. Not only does it involve fun cultural traditions, but it reminds them of their heritage and where they come from.

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The student news site of Corona del Mar High School
The Lunar New Year