Hatching Into the New Year


On the night of Saturday, January 28, the beautiful lanterns that were strung across Old Chinatown in LA illuminated the confetti-covered floor of the festive street. People rang in the Lunar New Year by popping confetti tubes, eating traditional food, and indulging in the rich Chinese culture with their families until Chinatown closed. This celebration in LA was just one way in which people spent the first day of the Chinese New Year.

“My family tradition on Lunar New Year is we all visit all our relatives’ homes to honor our ancestors and receive our very favorite, red envelopes, which contain money. Red envelopes are given to us to wish us a lucky and prosperous year as this year is the year of the rooster,” shared BPHS junior Cindy Nyugen on her family’s way of celebrating the Lunar New Year.

This year, the first day of the Chinese New Year fell on January 28, marking the beginning of the year of the Rooster. This celebration, popularly referred to as both the Lunar New Year and the Chinese New Year, occurs at the turn of the Chinese calendar. Although everyone has their own traditional way of celebrating the first day of the year, there is one common factor in everyone’s celebration: family.

Most people host a dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, which serves as an opportunity for a family reunion. During these dinners, it is typical to serve fish, which represents prosperity. Many Chinese children also receive money in celebration of the New Year. The most significant part of these gifts is not the money, but the traditional red envelopes in which they are given. The envelopes are referred to as yasui qian, meaning ‘suppressing ghosts money’. The envelopes serve as a wish for a safe and peaceful year of happiness toward the person on the receiving end.

Many people spent the first weekend of the Chinese New Year visiting Chinese temples and one of many festivals that were hosted in Southern California. Monterey Park hosted a big celebration on the 28 and 29. Seven blocks of the city were closed and filled with a variety of entertainment: vendors, live entertainment, food booths, and amusement rides.

Los Angeles and its center of Chinese culture, Chinatown, also attracted people looking to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The floor of Chinatown was completely covered in confetti as a result of the huge amount of people purchasing and setting off small confetti rockets. The trash cans overflowed and were surrounded by the empty tubes as people continued exploding the rockets and throwing the confetti from the floor above their heads for cute photo opportunities.

Strings of big red lanterns, hung from every storefront, extended above people’s heads. The stores were full of traditional New Year decorations, mostly red and rooster-themed. People from all around the diverse LA area came together in Chinatown to celebrate the beauty of the Chinese culture. The Chinese restaurants surrounding Chinatown were full of dining families and friends and the joy of the holiday. Phones were out at all times, with people taking pictures with their loved ones and of the beautiful decorations and the cultural statues.

“To me, Lunar New Year is about spending time with loved ones as we anticipate a new year of prosperity and fortune, but everyone has a favorite part. My favorite part of the Lunar New Year festivities is being able to visit various temples and expressing my hope for success and good fortune in the new year,” said BPHS junior Camelle Tieu.

The Lunar New Year is a culturally rich and wholesome holiday, celebrating family, the hard work done in the past year, and the beginning of a new year full of happiness and prosperity.

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