Jenny Quach is a volunteer coordinator at Global Volunteers. She knows a thing or two about Vietnam. She was born there. Here she shares a little bit about the Lunar New Year.
While January 28, 2017 is just another day for most Americans, on the other side of the world, many Asian countries (China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, and other geographic neighbors) are celebrating the grandest holiday, the Lunar New Year. You might have never heard of it, but for almost half of the world, the Lunar New Year it’s a really big deal.
The Lunar New Year is similar to two of the most popular western holidays, Christmas and the Gregorian New Year, where the holiday celebrates family gathering and rich festive activities. While each Asian country has their unique ways of celebrating the New Year, you will see some common themes and values. For the most part, many people will thoroughly clean their house and work space to symbolize a fresh beginning to the New Year. Many homes and businesses are nicely decorated with the colors red and gold scrolls and paper cut outs as they symbolize luck and wealth.
Furthermore, every family will purchase abundant food, snacks, fruits and candies to symbolize prosperity. Children also receives lucky money (a small red envelope containing money inside) from their parents, which might remind you of children getting Christmas presents. Lastly, many people will gather to watch the lion and dragon dancing as well as lighting firecrackers to ring in the New Year.
According to the Chinese zodiac, there is a 12-years cycle with one animal corresponding to each year. This year is the turn of the rooster. So this Lunar New Year half of the world will celebrate the Rooster! If you already knew this, you should plan to join the party next year. If you didn’t, you should still plan to join the party next year!