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Year of the Dragon at HSAS!

Tahsan Latif, Grade 10, Staff Writer

 

Happy Year of the Dragon! Beginning February 10 and ending February 24, families across the world will be celebrating the Lunar New Year, a time of great joy and gathering. As the name suggests, the Lunar New Year is based on the lunar calendar, which follows the phases of the moon. In the roughly two week period, followers meet family and friends, exchange gifts, and eat special foods.


The Lunar New Year is often known as a Chinese tradition, however, it is celebrated throughout East and Southeast Asia in the countries of Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. During the celebration, many traditions and short rituals are performed which are symbolic of certain cultural beliefs. For example, many Chinese households before the New Year clean the house in order to symbolize the expulsion of bad luck and the invitation of good luck. The color red is also used excessively as it symbolizes joy and good fortune. The New Year is a celebration that focuses on family, with large gatherings, gift exchanges, and remembrance of loved ones who have passed. Some of the most well known parts of the Lunar New Year include the parades and fireworks to celebrate the first full moon. Some of the biggest celebrations outside of China include the Lunar New Year parades in San Francisco and New York. New York’s parade happened in Chinatown on February 25.


Another famous tradition associated with the Lunar New Year is the zodiacs. Every year is associated with a different animal on the zodiac. This year is the Year of the Dragon. Many Western cultures view dragons as malevolent creatures, however, Eastern cultures view dragons as beings of power who grant the gift of rain. As such, dragons during the Lunar New Year are revered. Those born during the Year of the Dragon are characterized as individuals with high levels of confidence, courage, power, and intelligence.


Many students in HSAS follow similar customs to the ones mentioned above. However, some put their own spin on it. For example, Logan Kwan’s (Grade 10) family makes a special soup during the holiday, though he isn’t much of a fan of it. However, he does see the holiday as a great chance to meet relatives. Other students take a more lenient approach to the holiday. Jeffrey Zheng (Grade 10) says that his family doesn’t celebrate the holiday, and instead they spend the night eating out at a restaurant.

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