Ethan Yu | email@example.com | February 5, 2019
It’s that time of the year again… Chinese New Year! With the Bay Area population being 20% Asian, and d.tech being 27% Asian, Chinese New Year -or Lunar New Year- is a very prominent holiday.
Typically, Chinese New Year is a time for families to get together to celebrate with festivities. The New Year’s Eve dinner is known to some families as the ‘reunion dinner’, and is believed to be the most important dinner of the year. Freshman Christian Figueroa is one student that partakes in these annual dinners. “We have family from all over the bay come and get together for a weekend and last year some relatives from Colorado even came to spend the Chinese New Year with us,” said Figueroa.
In Chinese households, food is an important facet of Chinese culture and celebrations. These foods often serve as a metaphor for aspirations, values, and beliefs. When eating dinner with her family, Environmental Science teacher Fannie Hsieh “usually eats noodles, seafood, and dumplings during [her] family dinners.” 长伊面 (pronounced chang mien), or “longevity noodles”, are a commonly eaten delicacy. These noodles symbolize, well, longevity obviously…
Another food that is commonly eaten is fish. In Chinese, the word “fish” (鱼) sounds like “surplus” (余); a tradition that surrounds the Chinese culture is that having a surplus at the end of the year will signify that during the next year, they will be more prosperous. Other foods that are eaten during Chinese New Year dinners include spring rolls, sweet rice balls, and glutinous rice cakes.
Apart from the feasts and family get-togethers, a large array of customs and rituals accompany the festivities. Senior Brandon Yu has been going to a temple called Miu Kuang Temple for the past 12 years with his immediate family, uncle, and grandma at midnight on Chinese New Year. “I just went to the temple last night,” recalls Yu, “We prayed to our ancestors to receive good blessings for the new year, and got a tangerine and red envelope from the monk that lives at the temple.” Red envelopes, or “lai si” in Chinese, are filled with “lucky money”. They are one of the most iconic symbols of Chinese New Year, and are a great way to build and cement relationships between family and friends at the start of a fresh year.
If you didn’t have time to celebrate at home, you could follow the example of Sophomore Rikako Ono, who brought the festivities to d.tech. As the leader of the Asian Culture Club, Ono, along with other members in the club, organized a Chinese New Year bakesale. “It was kind of a last minute thing, since Mr. Lonnemann asked us to do something for Chinese New Year just last Thursday,” Ono said, “I’m just glad we were able to get everything set up and running.” They are currently selling Chinese New Year snacks and candies in stylish take out boxes for $3 and will be continuing to sell them until their supply runs out.
As the Spring Festival continues, look out for those red envelopes and make sure to wish you family and friends a Happy Year of the Pig!