happy lunar new year of the tiger! celebrated by taiwanese, chinese, korean, tibetan, bhutanese, mongolian and vietnamese cultures, this 15-day festive event begins the year. new year’s day is determined by the lunisolar calendar so the date changes every year! this year, it is the same day as valentine’s day – and why not, it’s a day of love!
the day before lunar new year is usually the day you spend time with your family, enjoying food that symbolize all the wonderful things to come. some customary foods to enjoy on lunar new year’s eve include fish (representing surplus so you have some leftover), dried tofu (for work), green vegetables (for growth), beans, nian gao (meaning prosperous year) and turnip cake. other cultures also have buddha’s delight (name sounds like prosperity and consists of 10-vegetables like “perfect 10”) and dumplings (because they are shaped like gold). also, if you bai bai (pay respects) to your ancestors, uncut noodles are in order (representing longevity and long life). all positive symbols help to start the new year on the right foot!
other traditional customs help celebrate the new year. before the new year, you clean your home to sweep away bad luck from the past year to make room for good luck in the new year. firecrackers are lit, making deafening explosions to scare away evil spirits. on new year’s day, you dress in new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. you also wear red to ward off evil spirits and bad fortune. also, there is the giving of red envelopes from the elderly and married couples to kids and unmarried juniors. while all these may just be superstition, it is a fun way to pump you up for the year ahead!