Celebrating Diversity Blog: Lunar New Year 2022

January 21, 2022
A table with bamboo, and red lunar new year flyers on it

Written by Katherine Campbell & Corrin Davis – International Student Services

About the Holiday

The Lunar New Year is an important holiday for many East Asian countries, including but not limited to China, Korea, and Vietnam. The Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars, traditional to many East Asian countries, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun. Depending on how the lunisolar calendar relates to the Gregorian calendar used in the US, the Lunar New Year typically falls sometime between January 21st and February 20th annually. The 2022 Lunar New Year is February 1st. In China, the Lunar New Year is celebrated as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, and celebrations start on February 1st, the first day of the first lunar month, and continue until the moon is full, ending February 15th with the Lantern Festival.

The holiday is typically celebrated with family through many traditional activities. Many people prepare for the Lunar New Year by cleaning their house and putting up decorations that will welcome good luck and deter bad luck. Many businesses close for the holiday. This time is seen as an opportunity to finish any projects before the New Year – people commonly prepare by scheduling appointments and doing their shopping in the weeks prior. Celebrations of the Lunar New Year are diverse, some more traditional and others very modern. Examples include; visiting family, sharing a large meal, hosting parties, cooking together, offering prayers, exchanging red envelopes of money, watching fireworks, watching dance performances, and creating lantern displays.

The legend behind the tradition of fireworks explains that long ago, a terrible monster called Nián used to terrorize villages at the start of the New Year, but a visitor to the village discovered that Nián could be scared away by the loud noises of firecrackers and the color red.

The  Zodiac

The Lunar New Year is an important time for Chinese astrology and horoscopes. The Chinese calendar also involves the Chinese Zodiac as each year relates to one of the twelve Zodiac animals: the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat/ sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and the pig.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger

The legend of the Zodiac animals explains the association between the year and the animal: According to Chinese myth, the Jade Emperor asked for all the animals to visit him on New Year’s Day. Twelve animals came to visit, crossing a large river in their journey there, and he assigned a year to each of the animals in the order they arrived. According to Chinese legend, people born in each animal’s year share the traits of that animal. The Tiger arrived third, using its strength and speed to persevere through the strong river current. Each Zodiac animal has five elemental variants; Metal, Earth, Fire, Wood, and Water.

The element of 2022 is Water

Horoscope predictions may offer warnings, but also include advice and support to navigate difficulties. Horoscopes for the new year are determined by which Zodiac animal corresponds with your birth year. Learn which Zodiac animal corresponds with your birth year here: https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/ 

Student Perspectives 

Meng-Hsiao Wei: MFA Systems Design Thinking

I come from southern Taiwan, where people still keep many traditional costumes to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year is a series of events, starting from the Lunar New Year eve, ending on January 2th of the lunar calendar.
The Lunar New Year’s eve usually means the preparation for the new year, we usually clean out all the house, write and put up the spring couplet. We also pay tribute to the ancestors today, praying for the upcoming year. Asian culture often comes with food, at this night, we will have a family reunion dinner. This feast usually contains certain food besides common food (This is for my family or the certain area, the contains may differ by regions): fish (pronounced the same with “surplus” in Mandarin), rice cake (pronounced the same with “rising” in Mandarin), mustard green (pronounced similarly with long-living in Mandarin), apples (pronounced similarly with “safe” in Mandarin), pineapples (pronounced similarly with “flourish” in Taiwanese), and oranges (pronounced the same with “good fortune” in Mandarin). Kids usually get red envelopes from adults after the reunion dinner, some kids do the other way round when they become adults. My family used to stay up this night, but it depends now. January 1st in the Lunar New Year, we usually pay a visit to temples around the area, praying for the new year, and visit elder relatives. January 2nd in the Lunar New Year is the day for married daughters, we visit in-laws this day (by costume), it’s also a good chance to reunite with relatives and peers, especially when everyone got jobs, study abroad.

This year I am not in Taiwan, although I can not celebrate with my family personally, my heart stays with them, and it’s a good chance to share the cultural difference with my roommates and classmates (I just found that Canson paper and Gouache are good matches for spring couplets). Although the materials are not the exact ones we use in Taiwan, our hearts remain the same.

 

Minyun Chung: BFA Product Design

Hello, I am Minyun. I am an exchange student in CCS from Taipei, Taiwan. Well, I think Taipei is a lonesome city during the Chinese new year. Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, so many people come here to work from other cities and they usually return to their hometown to gather with their families in New Year. Therefore, the streets in Taipei are deserted and many shops are closed as well. When I was a child, my parents even took me to the dentist before the Festival because they were worried that I would eat too many candies and I could not find a dentist if I got a toothache.

Actually, everyone is quite busy before the New Year. It is traditional for my family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. We also replace the new carpet, furniture, tableware to welcome the new year. Besides that, windows and doors need to be decorated with red paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth”, and longevity.” My brother and I usually do Chinese calligraphy on paper-cut together. His handwriting is neat and really have a talent for Chinese calligraphy, but for me… I usually do it in a designer way! Umm.. Chinese calligraphy is more like a painting with a brush for me…

Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. The New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. I usually want to finish dinner as soon as possible because I cannot wait for the most exciting moment “receiving red envelopes with luck money!”. Basically, it is not a custom to give red envelopes to (working) adults, but my parents told me that if I am married and have children, they will still give me red envelopes because I am a child for them forever.

I usually go to a lottery store to buy scratch-off lottery tickets with my mom after eve dinner because we want to try how are we lucky in the new year. Unfortunately, being a billionaire is still a dream. …Despite that, it’s still so funny. My mom likes to buy a lot of scratch- off lottery tickets as a gift to each family member. We like to stay in the lottery store and scratch tickets with other strangers together! Most people believe that fortune would come from people gathering. However, gathering a large number of people is not a good idea for this year due to Covid. Otherwise, my family likes to go to the temple to worship the deities and pray for blessing in new year.

Overall, I think my family is not a very traditional family for the Chinese new year. Generally, there are many specific traditional activities on each day of the period, such as visiting relatives, worship ancestors…. but my family tries to keep everything simple because we are not a big family. When I was a child, I felt the Chinese new year is the most boring period of the year. As I said, the streets in Taipei are deserted and most of my friends would come back to the south city with their parents. I usually spent a whole week with my parents. However, I would miss the family time this year because I can not attend the eve dinner with them. Anyway, I hope my parents would keep my lucky money until I come back to Taiwan.

 

Betty Deng: BFA Transportation Design

On the New Year day, we dress our new clothes for the new year and the clothes are usually have some red in it. Red in Chinese culture means good luck and it is especially for New Year. My parents take me to my grandparents’ house to celebrate it. We normally get there in the late morning because on that day we all need to dress nicely. Normally, my grandparents’ other children (my aunts and uncles) will go there as well with their kids. When we get there, my parents, aunts and uncles will start to cook after greeting with each other. We, as children, will play together and chat. It will be the happiest time for us. In the noon, we eat lots of nice dishes such as beef, seafood, and my grandparents’ secret recipe.

The typical Chinese New Year dish for us is dumplings and we usually eat it in the dinner time. So in the afternoon, all the family starts to make dumplings, and we will participate as well. After that, our family program is watching TV and play games until dinner time. We start New Year dinner around 7 and we sit together and talk about new year’s wishes. Apart from dumpling, we also have fish (means more than every year), ribs and other nice dishes as well. Altogether, there will be at least 10 dishes on the table. Our parents will start to give their grandchildren lucky money and good wishes. Then we eat while watching Spring Festival Gala.

Our next big program is lighting the fireworks. We stay up late until 00:00 at night and my dad will go to light the firecracker. It is very loud, because it means scaring all the bad luck and bad things away. Then we will start to clean up and ready for bed.

 

Chinese Students & Scholars Association:

Betty is the Co-President of the Chinese Students & Scholars Association (CSSA) at CCS.
Website: https://collegeforcreativestudies.presence.io/organization/ccs-chinese-students-scholars-association
Email: cssa@collegeforcreativestudies.edu 

 

Celebrate 2022 with CCS:

CCS Global Club will celebrate the Lunar New Year in collaboration with the International Student Services Office, the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, and the Chinese Students & Scholars Association. More details will be available on our social media and in the weekly email closer to the event date. If you would like to be involved contact international@collegeforcreativestudies.eduAll CCS community members are invited to participate!

 

Join our celebration by:

  •  Using our hashtag, #CCSGLOBAL, on Instagram or Facebook to share your Lunar New Year celebrations with us!
  • Downloading our background to use on Zoom 

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