Lunar New Year is an annual celebration that takes place in many Asian countries including China, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is a time when specially prepared foods are shared among family and traditional practices are performed to bring luck and prosperity to a new year. In Western culture, common forms of public display include parades, dancing, and fireworks, usually practiced within a predominantly Asian community.
This year, Chinese New Year begins Friday, February 12 and festivities usually take place for 15 days. Chinese zodiac animals are based on the Chinese lunar calendar. A different Chinese zodiac animal becomes the symbol for that year. There are 12 different zodiac animals. In 2021, it will be the year of the ox! The ox represents honesty, positivity and hard work.
Traditionally, fish and dumplings are eaten during Chinese New Year. Have you ever had a dumpling? Click here for a dumpling recipe you can try with your family! Mandarin oranges, dried fruits and other sweets are also considered lucky foods.
Lion dances are a popular form of entertainment during Chinese New Year festivities. Two dancers adorn a large, vibrant lion costume and perform dances set to drumming. One dancer moves the lion’s head and one dancer moves its rear! Families also gift small red envelopes containing money or little tokens as a symbol of prosperity and happiness in the new year. Check out this video from a past Lunar New Year celebration at the Museum! This Lion Dance is performed by the Chien Hong School of Kung Fu Lion Dance team.