Happy Lunar New Year


Year of the Rat. Photo by Pixabay

Maryann Compton, Staff Editor

On Saturday January 25th, Chinese and Vietnamese people celebrated the Lunar New Year. So what is the Lunar New Year? Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring, based on the Lunar calendar. This holiday falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice on December 21. This means that the New Year could fall on different dates normally between January 21 and February 20. To the Vietnamese, this holiday is called Tết. And to the Chinese, it is Nónglì Xīnnián.

This year, it is the year of the rat. The Vietnamese/Chinese zodiac sets 12 animals over a 12-year cycle. All 12 of these animals exhibit different personality traits, as well as ensure luck to those whose year it is. To find out which animal you are, visit the link below.


The Chinese and Vietnamese have many fun and interesting traditions. 

One of these traditions includes putting up red decorations. Back when the tradition first started, people believed that because the color red corresponds with fire, it symbolizes good fortune and joy. This belief was passed down, and became a tradition. Thus, when you go to a  Lunar New Year festival, decorations including lanterns, are red.

Red lanterns on a tree. Photo by Flickr







Junior Jasmine Vodhanel explains, “This year to celebrate Tết, I went to a parade and wore an Áo Dài, which is a traditional, Vietnamese dress. I went with my mom and two of my friends. It was really fun to listen to the music, and see the colorful floats. There were also firecrackers, and fun performances. My favorite part was receiving red envelopes because now I have some spending money.”

Leilani Morales ’21 and Jasmine Vodhanel ’21 in their dresses. Photo provided by Jasmine Vodhanel.









Red envelopes are filled with money that married couples or the older family members give to the younger children are red as well. The reason behind giving red envelopes is that it is a way to send good wishes and luck to the younger children, as well as money. Lisa Liu ’23 explains that her family ‘leaves the red envelope under her pillow for good luck.’

Another tradition that is widely celebrated are the games and activities that families play during the Lunar New Year. The traditional dragon dance and firecrackers are the key factors to a traditional celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Red lanterns and decorations. Photo by Flickr








There is also a game called Bầu Cua Cá Cọp, a Vietnamese gambling game that includes a game board with a picture of a fish, prawn, crab, rooster, gourd, and deer, and dice that have all 6 animals on the 6 sides of the dice. Players place wagers, mainly quarters on the board, and once everyone finishes placing their bet, the board is locked. The dealer then shakes the 3 dice. Once the dice are rolled, the dice corresponding with where the player placed their bet receives the same amount back, as well as their bet. If two of the three dice are the same, they win double what they bet, and so on.

Traditional Vietnamese Game. Photo from Wikipedia









Evelyn Zhao ’20 tells the Royal Reporter her experience: “I celebrated Chinese New Year with my friends. We prepared some traditional dishes such as dumplings, hot pot, and spring rolls. We also watched the Spring Festival Gala together. My host family gave me a red envelope with money inside, and it made me so happy. I really enjoyed the Lunar New Year because I got to spend time with my friends who are normally very busy because of school.”

Chinese and Vietnamese New Years is a great time to get together with family, and enjoy their presence during the New Year. Legend has it, that if you keep a $2 bill in your wallet, you will have good luck as long as the $2 stays in your wallet. If you missed the festivals going on during this time, make sure to go next year.