Junior Shirley Chu celebrates New Year

Katie Pope, Staff Writer

Chinese New Year is celebrated to let go of the past and welcome new
beginnings, similar to the American New Year.
“To me, Chinese New Year means a new year to be grateful for,” junior
Shirley Chu said.
The celebrations last about 15 days starting from the last day of the
Chinese calendar year. Some students take off an entire month of
school for this holiday.
“I do different activities with my family throughout a span of 12
days,” Chu said. “Relatives come over and we eat dinner and play
games.  Then my family and I go to the temple late at night to pray
and celebrate with more people.””
The last day of the year varies. Just like the American calendar, it
depends on the year.
The Chinese Calendar is based on the lunar calendar which is a
calendar based on the phases of the moon and the solar year.
This year the last day of the Chinese New Year is Jan. 28.
Chinese New Year is also known as “The First Day of the Great Year” or
“The Lunar New Year” and it translates to “The Spring Festival.”
Chinese New Year represents another year someone is alive, it is like
a second birthday for Chinese people.
Chinese New Year has a unique perspective to it.
Each year represents an animal and every 12 years the animal cycle is
repeated.  It started with the rat, then the ox, tiger, rabbit,
dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and finally the pig.
After the pig year is the rat year and repeats in the same order.
Red is the main color of the Chinese New Year holiday.  Bright red
decorations are often put up around houses and on doors and windows.
The decorations are cut papers that represent wealth, long life,
happiness, and good fortune.
The children usually receive red envelopes stuffed with money, similar
to Christmas but instead of presents, they get money.  However, there
is a restriction to the amount of money given in the envelopes.  The
amount is usually an even number, but the number cannot be divisible
by four because four symbolizes death.
“My family doesn’t follow that rule because we are more Americanized
and not as superstitious,” Chu said.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in the streets as well as in homes.
There are very popular dragon dances where people dress up as dragons
and lions and dance for the crowds.
“I like to watch the dragon dances at Chinese New Year festivals
because they’are unique and fun,””Chu said.
The last day of the Chinese New Year is called Lantern Day. People
celebrate the end of the holiday by walking around with paper lanterns
to light the way for the New Year.