Page 2: Red Lanterns, Firecrackers – the celebration of Lunar New Year

Ariana Nguyen

Lunar New Year has been around for about 3,500 years and has several different names such as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival.

Western calendars are based on the Earth’s orbit around the sun. The calendar used for Lunar New Year is lunisolar, based on the moon cycles. Those who celebrate Lunar New Year do so on the second new moon after the winter solstice on Dec. 21. Lunar New Year falls on different days between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

One of Lunar New Year’s most popular myths is about a mythical beast who ate livestock and even people on New Year’s Eve. To prevent the beast from terrorizing the town, people would put food out at their front door as an offering. It is believed that louse noises and the color red scared the beast, so people started hanging red lanterns and scrolls on their doors and windows to scare it away. People would also start cracking bamboo, now replaced with firecrackers.

Today, people decorate with the color red. In China, the color red symbolizes luck and prosperity. 

To celebrate, grandparents and other older relatives would usually give red envelopes with money to children. 

Firecrackers and fireworks would be set off, and lion dances would be performed to bring good luck and fortune. The lion dance is a traditional dance where a group of people would imitate the movement of a lion in a lion costume. 

Another activity that is commonly done during New Year’s is gambling. 

“My favorite part of Lunar New Year is the food, family time and getting lucky red envelopes,” senior Jennivy Phu said. “I also love playing this game Bau cua cá cop. We gamble money and bet on different animals like the prawn, fish, deer, crab, rooster and a gourd.”

Good luck for New Year

*Sweeping house before New Years (sweeps away bad luck)

*Wear red (lucky color)

Bad luck for New Year

*Sweeping on New Year’s day (sweeps away money and fortune)

*Shower (washing away luck and fortune)

*Hospital trips (brings bad health)

*Borrowing and lending money (brings bad luck and debt)