Celebrating the Lunar New Year at Casa
Wouldn’t it be nice to have 15 days off to celebrate the New Year? All around people are smiling and celebrating with mountains of aromatic food, elaborate red and gold decorations fill houses, and joyful music plays throughout the streets. This does not even begin to describe how beautiful the Lunar New Year is or how it is celebrated.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year at Casa:
- Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar and is celebrated at different times depending on the culture.
- The legend of the monster Nian talks about the origins of why the Lunar New Year has certain celebrations.
- Ways to celebrate the New Year include: The Lion Dance, Red Envelopes, Food, and the Lantern Festival.
- We celebrate at Casa by wearing red and completing a special project!
The Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar. It is celebrated by East Asians between late January and early February, and by Southeast Asians between late March and early April. It is the most important holiday, thus Chunyun, or the great migration, happens. Millions of people travel back home and airports are barely able to keep up with the commotion.
But how did this elaborate festival start? Legend talks of an ancient monster named Nian, who was not very nice and lived alone in the woods. But on the new moon he liked to come down and scare everyone! Then one day they discovered that the monster disliked thundering noises, big fires, and the color red. So on the next full moon, Nian was too scared to come down and he let the civilians be for another year! Thus, the arrival of the new moon was nothing to fear!
How is it Celebrated?
Asian culture has rich traditions with lots of meaning and history which are seen in this holiday. The Lion dance, for example, is danced each year to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes are handed out for the same purpose, and in hopes of bringing some good luck in the New Year. But, be very careful in what type of bill you use because if it is not new, the New Year might not be so kind to you. And like most cultures, food is of the utmost importance!
Food carries much symbolism and significance during this festival. In China, dumplings are made in a particular way to symbolize prosperity. South Koreans make tteokguk, or sliced rice soup, as a symbol of good luck. Other symbolic foods to make are yuanxiao, or sticky rice balls, to symbolize family unity, and fagao, a cake to symbolize prosperity.
As food slowly starts to disappear into people’s bellies and the final day of the celebration comes, it is time for the lantern festival, the last joyful event. Huge lanterns of various elements like animals and nature are on display to illuminate the streets. And people walk around and enjoy this beautiful light display before saying goodbye to this festival until the following year!
The Casa Connection
At Casa we want to expose our children to different cultures and teach them of all the beautiful things around the world. When you join Casa you join in the adventure of discovering new traditions! On this day, children and teachers are encouraged to wear red clothing and we do a fun art project related to the animal of the year. Look out for creative tiger decorations! At home, share this informational video with your child for them to understand it better!