Students celebrate Lunar New Year

The far left picture is of a red envelope. The middle picture is a dragon costume worn during dragon dances on Lunar New Years. The far right picture is of red lanterns.

As February rolls in, there are many AHS students that are preparing to celebrate another holiday that marks the start of a new year.

Lunar New Year is commonly celebrated in some east asian countries, like China, Vietnam, and Korea. This year, Lunar New Years will begin on Feb. 14th.

Since the date is determined by the first new moon on the lunar calendar, the day that the holiday falls on each year changes.

AHS students love this time of year because they are able to celebrate with their family and enjoy fun traditions that will help them get in touch with their roots.

“For Lunar New Years, my family usually visits our temple to say some prayers, help out the community, and exchange red envelopes,” junior Lynni Do said.

“My favorite part is watching the dragon dancing at festivals and receiving red envelopes,” junior Cassandra Quach said.

Lunar New Years also allows students to be able to enjoy delicious foods that belong to their families’ cultures. Some students also have the joy of making them.

“My favorite part [of Lunar New Years] is getting to eat a lot of good food made by my mom and dad,” junior Michelle Zhou said.

Different cultures tend to eat different foods to celebrate. In Chinese culture, hot pot is traditionally eaten.

Zhou’s family always prepares hot pot with delicious and expensive meats for Lunar New Years. Aside from hot pot, her family also enjoys dumplings and tang yuan, which is a ball of dough made from rice flour and has a filling inside.

“My favorite tradition is making tang yuan and dumplings with my mom,” Zhou said. “My favorite food would be tang yuan because of how much it reminds me of my childhood.

In Vietnamese culture, a common food that just about everybody eats during Lunar New Years is banh chung.

Do usually makes banh chung with her family as a tradition.

Do also enjoys eating mooncakes, which are small and round cakes with nuts, bean paste, lotus root paste, and egg yolk.

“During Lunar New Years, my favorite thing to eat are Chinese Mooncakes,” Do said. “The roundness is supposed to symbolize togetherness.”

Lunar New Years is usually a very social holiday where every relative comes together to celebrate. However, with the pandemic still among us, it might be different this year.

Many AHS families who celebrate this holiday will have to find a safer way to do that while meeting health guidelines. They may have to put some of their regular traditions on pause.

In other years, many AHS students have enjoyed a huge dinner with many of their relatives to kick off the new year together, however, it is unsafe to have such a massive gathering this year.

“I have dinner at my grandmother’s house with the whole family every year where we eat traditional foods that are going to bring good luck to our lives,” Quach said. “This year we plan to just eat in our own separate houses so we don’t risk our safety as well as others.”

Do usually makes banh chung to enjoy in the company of her families and friends won’t have the pleasure of doing that this year.

“With the pandemic going on this year, my family will just be making bánh chưng at home, and then dropping them off at our friend’s and family’s houses,” Do said.

Regardless of the pandemic or not, students won’t let it bring down their spirits.

Even though many traditions will be modified, the important thing about Lunar New Years to many students is being able to spend time with loved ones.