Lunar New Year 2021 events at SWOSU
By Guadalupe Serna
For The Southwestern
Friday, Feb. 12, will mark the Lunar New Year which is celebrated in many Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Laos, and South Korea, just to name a few.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year at SWOSU, the Asian American Student Association (AASA) will have a table in the Memorial Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.
At the AASA event, there will be prepackaged snacks and red envelopes that contain $1 to hand luck and wealth for the coming year, according to An Nguyen, a pharmacy student and current co-president of AASA.
The AASA will also be holding a meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 on Zoom. This meeting will show some activities, and traditions in the hopes that “everyone would have a better understanding of our beautiful culture,” Nguyen says. Zoom Meeting ID is 960 4808 9191.
Although each country has its own name for the celebration, it is always celebrated to commemorate the first new moon of the lunar calendar and lasts up to 16 days, but only the first few days are a public holiday.
Animals play a big role in the Chinese calendar, and these animals are part of the Chinese zodiac. There are 12 animals with each one having its own year based off the lunar calendar. This year is the year of the ox. In Chinese culture, the ox is valued because its role in agriculture and its positive characteristics such as being hardworking and honest, according to Chinesenewyear.net, a website which explains the history, traditions and myths associated with the new year.
The order that these animals appear in the calendar comes from a myth. In the myth, a Jade Emperor wanted 12 animals to be his palace guards. He sent a messenger to tell the animals that the earlier they arrived at the heavenly gate, the better their rank would be.
There are variations of this story and other stories told by different countries that celebrate the lunar new year.
“Each country will have its way to celebrate the Lunar New Year,” Nguyen says.
Growing up in Vietnam, Nguyen would sweep the floor and and throw away old things to sweep the bad luck of the old year he says.
During New Year Eve, people would go downtown to see fireworks and the lion dances, he says.
The most exciting thing as a kid was waiting to get a red envelope or “li xi,” this envelope was handed down from older people and had money for the younger people, Nguyen says.