The Year of the Snake

Happy Year of the Snake!

Happy New Year! Chinese New Year, that is!

To be politically correct, and avoid being bombarded with corrections, Happy Lunar New Year. CNY/LNY is a huge holiday for many international students on campus. It marks the beginning of a new lunar calendar year. This year, may the year of the Snake bring prosperity.

Here are some CNY/LNY customs and facts:

1. The celebration lasts for 15 days.

2. Sweeping is a taboo on the eve of the CNY/LNY. It is said to sweep out the good luck for the year.

3. The first words uttered during the new year will determine person’s fortunes for the entire year. So watch what you say!

4. Legend says that Buddha invited all the animals to join him during the new year but only 12 turned up. He then named a year after each of the 12 animals. The lunar calendar has 12 zodiacs. I was born on the year of the Goat.

5. People wear RED to bring prosperity. Dark colors are avoided.

6. Red envelopes with money are handed out from married people to children. The custom varies from place to place, but the red envelopes remain.

This is my third Chinese New Year away from home. I left home to come to Mount Union in January 2011 before the celebrations began and I have not returned for the celebrations since. It seems strange because I have not done much during the new year since I came here. This year, I decided do things my way. Traditionally, my family hosts a series of steamboat (hotpot to some) dinners where many people, family and friends, will come over to eat and catch up. This time around, I hosted my own. With the help of my fellow Malaysians on campus, we managed to pull off a dinner that matched my family dinners. Well, besides the fact that the guest list was totally different. After the dinner, I celebrated and welcomed the new year the same way many college students here celebrate any occasion: Party! I invited a few friends over and it meant a lot to me that I could share the biggest holiday in my culture with friends I have made here at Mount Union.

The celebrations are not over just yet. After all, I did tell you that our new year celebration lasts for 15 days. So, anyone want to celebrate it with me?

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