Happy Lunar New Year 2017!
This entry was posted on February 1, 2017.
What is Lunar New Year, you may ask? It's the first day of 12 months coordinated by the cycles of the moon. Many East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian countries celebrate the new year according to the historical Chinese lunisolar calendar (combination of the moon phase and the time of the solar year). Read more about how China, Korea, and Vietnam celebrate the New Year with fun festivities and delicious food!
Chinese New Year
Every year the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year, which is split up into 3 different days. It is customary to clean and decorate the home beforehand in preparation for the new luck and prosperity that the New Year will bring. People dress in new clothes that are red in color, hand out red envelopes to the children, and light firecrackers to scare of evil spirits. There are large parades and processions to fill the day with festive performances and music in celebration of the new start. It is also an auspicious time to visit the temple and get your fortune read. People from all areas return home for an annual get-together and the special reunion banquet. On New Year Eve, vegetarian dishes are eaten, and meat dishes are enjoyed on New Year Day. The North traditionally makes pork dumplings, and the South traditionally makes Nian Gao, although each area also has their own regional specialties as well.
Korean New Year
Korean New Year is known as Seollal and is celebrated at the beginning of the Lunar calendar. This is a very family-oriented holiday where people return home to visit their elders, in-laws, and other family members. Some women may choose to wear their traditional hanbok, and gift-giving is also a traditional part of the celebration. The younger generation performs deep bows to their elders to show their respect and offer well wishes, and in return the elders give pocket money and snacks. Some traditional Korean foods that are eaten at this time of year are rice cakes, fruits, and rice cake soup(called tteokguk). Kimchi dumplings, stuffed mushrooms, and a sweet rice dessert called Sikhye are also popularly consumed.
Vietnamese New Year
The Vietnamese people celebrate Vietnamese New Year every year by preparing the house in anticipation for the grand holiday. Cleaning is done prior to the New Year so as not to accidentally clean away any good luck. Some families visit and clean the graves of their family members, and many also take this time to worship their ancestors. Adults pass out red envelopes to the children who are to give their well wishes to their elders. There are also large, festive parades and performances with people in beautiful costumes, gongs, and dragon dances to reign in the new year and ward off bad spirits. Some foods that are typically eaten during this time are sticky rice that is colored in orange or red, meat that has been stewed in coconut juice, pickled vegetables, and candied fruits.