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Listen In: Lunar New Year celebration holds tradition, culture

photo courtesy of Jessica Guan
Throughout her house, junior Jessica Guan has decorations for the Lunar New Year. Her favorite are the fish, which promise auspiciousness.

On this episode of Listen In, junior Jessica Guan sits down with Opinions Editor Samantha Haney to discuss the importance of the Lunar New Year in Chinese culture.

Since she was a child, Guan has celebrated the Lunar New Year.

Guan’s parents are from China and the majority of their family still live there so they follow some of the traditional practices such as wearing red, decorating with fish for good luck and hanging red papers around the house.

The holiday prompts cleaning, wearing new clothes and other traditions to start the new year with prosperity. This year’s celebration is extra special Guan said since 2024 is the year of the dragon, one of the 12 Chinese zodiacs.

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According to Time magazine, the creature largely symbolizes luck, strength, ambition and charm.

China has the largest Lunar New Year celebration in the world, prompting the largest mass migration as people travel home to China to celebrate. Although Guan has never made it due to the holiday’s timing being in the middle of the school year, she would love to go in the future.

“I would love to see the celebrations. They have enormous parades in the cities [and] market vendors sell trinkets in the streets,” Guan said.

The most important thing that Guan wants people to know about Chinese culture as a whole is that it needs to be kept separate from the Chinese government’s decisions. She enjoys wearing traditional Chinese clothes because they prompt that conversation and allow her to have that conversation with people.

“Just because a government does one thing does not mean that the culture is necessarily associated with that or symbolic of that,” Guan said. “I find that’s a common misconception that people have in the West.”

The Lunar New Year is Feb. 10 but there is a 14-day celebration that will end on Feb. 24.

This story was originally published on The Lancer Feed on February 14, 2024.