One of the greatest things about growing up in California was the opportunity to embrace and learn other people’s cultures firsthand. 

With Black History Month impending, I need to recognize another cultures’ very important day that’s approaching. 

I remember Soleil Moon Frye’s mother taking us to a Chinese New Year festival when I was a young girl. The fireworks, the dragons, the street parade and paper lanterns always had me in awwww. I was mesmerized by all the beautiful colors. She took us to eat dumplings and bought us toys from Chinatown.

Then when I got a little bit older, I had a friend, Jenny Yang who invited me to her house for a traditional Chinese New Year dinner with her family. It was much like Christmas. People sat around talking and laughing, cooking and drinking, just enjoying a wonderful time with their family. 

This year, the Lunar New Year is coming Friday, February 12th. February 11-17th is the holiday. 

Social distancing and COVID-19 will damper some of the traditional celebrations I’ve adopted into my own life, but some will carry on. One thing I’ve done every year since I was a teenager is buying a new red wallet. Red is energy, so I believe it helps keep money in my wallet and I buy myself new underwear too! 

If you have never celebrated, here are a few things you need to know! 

The celebration lasts 15 days

The dates change every year (like Easter)

1/6 of the world celebrates it

AKA Spring Festival 

Everyone wears new clothes

Kids receive red envelopes as gifts (lucky money)

Red is a good luck color believed to scare away spirits and bad fortune. 

Like Americans eat turkey, the Chinese eat dumplings. Dumplings are a traditional Chinese food, especially in northern China. The Chinese believe when you are eating dumplings, you will bring prosperity in the coming year.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

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