Happy New Year!

red money envelope

A red money envelope. Photo credit Natalie Krafft.

By Natalie Krafft

 

For those who don’t know, today is the Lunar New Year! Many Asian countries such as Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and China celebrate this holiday.

According to Chinese folklore, the Jade Emperor arranged a banquet for all the creatures of China to attend. When the Rat found out about this, he told the Cat that the banquet was to be held a day later and so the Cat never arrived. The first to come to the banquet was the Rat, then the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and then the Pig.

Other countries have different stories and Zodiacs. For instance, the Vietnamese zodiac has both the Rat and the Cat but not the Rabbit. The Rabbit earned its place in the Japanese zodiac by trying to sacrifice itself to a god. Interestingly, the Japanese celebrate the New Year on the European calendar.

Differences aside, many traditions remain the same within the countries. Red and gold are seen everywhere as they are lucky colors, thought to bring you prosperity. Another tradition is red envelopes with money inside. The traditional envelope is red with a golden character but there are still many modern and colorful versions, such as the one pictured. Many traditional dances also take place, often involving acrobatics and costumes such as dragons and lions.

Depending on what year you were born, the zodiac is said to determine your personality. Monkeys are said to be clever, mischievous, and smart. Good luck to everyone this Lunar New Year– may you keep your grades up, your stress levels down, and your happiness constant.

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