Lunar New Year at Parkview

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Junior Grace Liu displays the decorations her family hangs up for the new year (Photo courtesy of Grace Liu).

On February 1st, red lanterns and paper cuttings decorated the homes of many Parkview students. Tables were adorned with plates of aromatic dishes as red envelopes were handed out.

Lunar New Year (LNY) is a festival marking the beginning of the new year on the lunar calendar. It’s a holiday celebrated in many East and Southeast Asian cultures and is filled with festivities and traditions. 

Parkview students could partake in the festivities by attending a meeting hosted by Parkview’s own Asian American Student Association (AASA). AASA President Nancy Pham explains, “At our January meeting, we did some Asian country trivia, talked about the origin of Chinese New Year, and distributed red envelopes with points instead of money.” 

Many Parkview students and staff celebrate the holiday. 

“I feel as though Lunar New Year is a staple holiday that most, if not, all south east Asian countries celebrate in hopes to bring luck into the new year and have a fresh start for everyone,” Pham added. 

The New Year is one of the most important times for people to come together and celebrate as a family. Pham recalled, “For Lunar New Year, I typically would visit my grandparents to wish them another year of life and eat traditional foods with them.” 

Another tradition celebrated at the Pham family includes visiting Buddhist temples and playing Bầu cua. “My family and I go to a Buddhist temple to pray and celebrate the new year by eating foods and listening to songs. We also throw LNY parties with lots of food and karaoke,” she said. “My favorite LNY activity is Bầu cua where we basically gamble our lucky red envelope money with the rest of the family and it’s my favorite activity because who doesn’t love money?”

Giving red envelopes is a common tradition within many families. On Lunar New Year, family members will put money into a rectangular red pouch and give them along with well wishes for the new year. 

However, while it’s a commonplace for celebrations to be held with family and friends, the traditions honored on LNY differ from family to family. 

“We usually make dumplings along with our meal on LNY Eve, and we eat with the Chinese Spring Gala playing on the TV,” explained junior Grace Liu. “My parents don’t give out red pockets, but we do hang up decorations like window flowers!”

While traditional activities can range from hanging up decorations to attending Buddhist temples, one thing is clear: Lunar New Year is the time of year for family and friends to gather together and wish for a new year filled with fortune. 

According to junior Kevin Nguyen, “It’s more about taking care of one another… every time we receive the red envelope we say some wishes to the person giving it to us like ‘I wish you great health’ or ‘I hope you live a long life.'” Jun