RHAYNA KRAMER — Lunar New Year means something slightly different for everyone.
Last week, millions of people worldwide celebrated Lunar New Year. 2019 is the Year of the Pig, the pig is one of the Chinese zodiacs that reoccurs every 12 years.
Yuchen Hua ‘21, President of GCC and a data analytics and economics double-major from the Suzhou district in China, gave a general explanation of one of China’s most important holidays.
“Lunar New Year is the start of New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s a day for family to get together and have meals together — it’s kind of like Christmas. On the first few days of new year, we go to other people’s houses and eat with them,” Hua said.
Yelena Yang ‘22, a mathematics major at Denison who attended the same high school as Yuchen in Wisconsin, added to Hua’s thoughts.
“And the elders — the grandmother and grandfather — will give the children a red packet. It has money inside. It’s like a little gift you present the children, who are going to be really happy. And there’s a promise in the future. And the Chinese really like the color red. It is basically the color for all the decorations during the Lunar New Year,” Yang said.
These red packets containing monetary gifts, sometimes referred to as hóngbāo (红包, Mandarin), lai see (利市, Cantonese), or lì xì, (Vietnamese), are an important indicator of future promise. In addition the color red signifies “energy, happiness, and good luck.”
Although these traditions are consistent for most who celebrate Lunar New Year, Yang also discussed an interesting twist on gift-giving in her family.
“In my family, instead of giving us the red packet, my grandpa always hides the money all around the house so that me and my younger sister will go around and look for it, which makes it more interesting.”
Lunar New Year is clearly an important holiday for family get-togethers, but it is also an important holiday at Denison. Every year, Asian Culture Club (ACC) and GCC host Denison’s annual Lunar New Year dinner, complete with delicious food and student performances.
“It’s like a gala night, because in China, on the last two days of the year, we usually have a spring festival or gala night — it’s just [like] a TV show for the performance stuff, and we watch it until midnight — so it’s the beginning of the new year. So here [at Denison], we are going to have the performance, and students are going to sign up for the performance.”
This year’s Lunar New Year celebration will be on February 23 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the third floor of Slayter.