The Lunar New Year is fast approaching!
Tabor’s Center for International Students shared some information about the celebration and a couple of quotes from two seniors from China and Korea about what the holiday means to them. Thank you, Mr. Downes!
Sometimes known as “Chinese New Year”, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in China and other Asian countries, including Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Cambodia, as well as by Chinese living abroad. The celebrations continue over a week and more. Downes said, “Today, January 24, is “New Year’s Eve”, the Spring Festival is on Saturday, and various traditions and celebrations lead up to the Lantern Festival on February 8.” This year is the year of the Rat!
Below, a senior from China describes his own experiences with the Lunar New Year at home:
“Chinese New Year is a symbol for celebration, fresh start, and most importantly, reunion. People in China use the phrase "年味儿"（nian wer) to describe the atmosphere during Chinese New Year, which translates to the taste of New Year. We celebrate our achievements in the past year and pray for good luck for the next year. Streets will be decorated with red neon lights and red lanterns because the color red symbolizes jollification and good luck. On New Year's Eve, the whole family reunites together to enjoy the Festive dinner and welcome the first day of the New Year. Each dish has a symbol. Dumpling, for example, means reunion, because the dough is wrapped around the stuffing. Fish symbolizes "年年有余" (nian nian you yu), which translates to prosper every year. Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China because it is a spiritual pillar in everyone's heart. No matter what happens in the next year, we will always have our family by our side.”
And, a Korean senior shared:
“Korean New Year, Seollal, is the first date on the lunar calendar. The date of the New Year will differ by year, but this year it is January 25th (usually the same day as the Chinese New Year). Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year for three days: the day before, the day of, and the day after. Families typically celebrate by gathering together and play folk games or eat traditional food. Each family holds their own tradition of what they cook for New Years, but ddeokguk is one of the common new year’s dishes. Koreans count age differently than other countries: in Korean culture, once you are born, you are one year old. Due to this counting system, Koreans acknowledge their new age starting from the New Year. Therefore, ddeokguk has been a way to symbolically grow a year older after finishing the soup. Many Koreans look forward to this day not only because they can take a break from work, but also to see the whole family at one spot.”
Enjoy the celebrations!