Wilson Zheng, 9th

March 10, 2023

How has your celebration of Lunar New Year changed since quarantine?

This year, we exchanged gifts of some sort, we had our cousin’s family come over and then we ate a big meal together. But before the pandemic, I used to go to Chinese school, and they had this event every year where each grade would perform something special. After the performances, there’d be traditional Chinese games and food. There were always those shows where the people are holding the dragon head with a pole and people dance with it. The younger kids, third or fourth graders, would do a dance or sing a song. But now, there’s the pandemic, so they don’t do it anymore. What I miss the most is being able to actually see the different kinds of cultural stuff you do, because there were a lot of pre-pandemic activities, where you could see calligraphy, and people would do it [in front of you]. I thought it was really cool. Now, I think it’s a lot less social in a sense, and it’s more family [oriented].

Why do you think it’s important to hold on to these traditions?

This culture is one of the only cultures I really do celebrate. In America, [there’s] Thanksgiving, Christmas, those kinds of holidays. But our family doesn’t really value them as much as Chinese [holidays] because they immigrated here from China. So I think if I don’t keep and hold on to [my traditions], I won’t really have a culture to celebrate and enjoy.

What hopes do you have for the new year?

My grandparents and parents think that Lunar New Year is about fortune and blessing for the next year. They wish for the well being of the whole family. I think that’s a good thought, a good thing to think about. For myself, I think mostly [about] making sure my mental [health] stays good and making sure that friendships and school stuff stays the same. For my family, I hope nobody gets sicker than they already are.

How would you explain Lunar New Year and its significance to someone who hasn’t heard of it?

Honoring your ancestors is one big part of it, and wishing luck for the next new year. People think that it’s kind of weird, some of the things we eat, or maybe some of the plays that are put on. [To them] I’d say, first give it a try and see if you like it.

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