Lunar new year— a symbolism for prosperity


Graphic Credit: Ethan Wu

Katy Zhang, Editor-in-chief

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is a  15-day celebration starting Feb. 01. Asian communities around the world welcome the new year with festivals and cultural events by getting “rid of the old” and welcoming the “new”. 

The Chinese New Year started during the Shang Dynasty where the agricultural society of China welcomed the new growing season of Spring with ceremonies which also gives this celebration the name of “Spring Festival”. However, as time passed on, regional differences and legends  based upon this holiday created various differences in celebrations. 

For many families, New Year’s Eve dinner is the most important aspect of this celebration. Normally, this dinner is also a sign of reunion especially for families that are away from home. In this dinner, fish and dumplings (considered the most important dish of Northern China during New Year) symbolize prosperity and hope towards a better year. Additionally, my personal favorite part of Chinese New Year is the red pockets, which is a red envelope with money varying from one to thousands of  Chinese Yuan given by elders to the younger ones. These red envelopes were believed to be able to suppress the evil from Children in order to keep them healthy. 

Though these celebrations are mainly prevalent in  China, Chinese people around the world have also celebrated Chinese New Year in their own ways. For instance, the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade is the biggest celebration of this festival outside of Asia. It started ever since the 1860s during the gold rush and has continued since then. 

As technology develops many of these traditions are replaced by more technological alternatives. Instead of sending physical red envelopes, many young generations have replaced it with virtual red envelopes via social media apps such as WeChat while connecting with their peers. 

Though Asian Americans only constitute about 5.7% of the nation’s population, cultural events like the Chinese New Year should still be recognized and celebrated. It is different from the traditional New Year countdown at Time Square, as the Chinese New Year is a celebration of peace and progress of agricultural societies such as that of China that has gone through countless challenges and heavily rely on the supposedly “power of nature” in order to sustain growth. It is also a time to show respect towards our ancestors and our past since they’ve shaped us who we are today.