Celebrating the new year


Andrea Schlitt


On Dec. 31st at 11:59 p.m., people gather around the world to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the new one. Streamers fill the air, champagne glasses clink and cheers echo across the room.

While this is the only new year some celebrate, millions of others spend about two weeks in February celebrating Chinese New Year. Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese New year involves a week of preparing before setting up bright red decorations and enjoying a family dinner.

Chinese Honor Society (CHS) president junior Dorothy Chou celebrates this holiday every year with her family. She usually eats a hot pot dinner along with fish and dumplings, and they talk about the past year together.

“There’s a Chinese saying that’s nian nian you yu,” Chou said, “so when you eat fish you’re not supposed to finish it because we want to have excess and surplus throughout the year.”

On Chinese New Year’s Day, she usually calls her relatives, and when she gets the chance to go back to Taiwan her family exchanges red envelopes, a decorative envelope with money inside to symbolize luck for the new year.

Sophomore and CHS public relations director Forrest Leung follows similar traditions, and his family pays attention to certain superstitions.

“We follow most of the taboos like no haircuts, no cleaning the house,” Leung said.” [We] have a group dinner with family and friends.”

In Chinese culture, sweeping the house on the first day of the new year is equated to sweeping away good luck, and cutting hair is like cutting off good luck.

On the other hand, junior and CHS member Elisa Hsu finds that she doesn’t really celebrate Chinese New Year after moving to America in the second half of eighth grade. She used to go back to Taiwan for the summer and winter breaks for a family gathering and trip around the area.

“Break [in America] isn’t connected to Chinese New Year,” Hsu said. “When we have christmas break when [Chinese students] are having major tests and working, so there’s no need to go back during winter break.”

Though Hsu doesn’t do anything particular to celebrate, her grandmother still gives red envelopes for her father to bring back to America for her.

Chinese New Year is celebrated differently for everyone, but it still remains a prominent holiday in the Chinese culture. From superstitions to hot pot and red envelopes, the holiday welcomes in the new year for millions around the world.