Lunar New Year 2022 celebrations resume in person
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Tomorrow is the Chinese new year also known as lunar new year. And along with the new year comes celebrations with loved ones all over the world. The Chinese new year falls on a different day each year, and each year is represented by a different animal. The celebrations come with many traditions that are unique to Asian culture, each having a meaning behind them. And joining me to talk about traditions of the Chinese new year is the executive officer of the house of China in BBO park. David said, David welcome
Speaker 2: (00:33)
choy, which means happy new year to everyone in the Cantonese dialect,
Speaker 1: (00:38)
Happy new year to you to so tell me the Chinese new year falls on a different day, each year, based on the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar. What's the difference between the two and what's the significance of the lunar calendar.
Speaker 2: (00:52)
The ancients in China decided to follow the pattern of the moon and when it was full, when it was half when it was quarter and . And so that is why the date of Chinese new year always changes from late January to maybe early February. So it's just a different world view on accounting for time and seasons.
Speaker 1: (01:16)
So what are some of the traditions that come along with the new year celebrations?
Speaker 2: (01:21)
Well, family gather as will my family tonight for a celebratory dinner. So it just signifies a happy time, a time of plentiful food and good tasty food. Chinese have so many different types of foods and we're longing to just reconnect and to put aside maybe problems of the past and have hope for the future. So it's just a grand time of eating, talking, celebrating, maybe little polar games are some of the things done the first day of Chinese near. There are other days that I designated or like the in-laws to visit the in-laws like the second day, the third day may be time to go to see other business associates or neighbors or friends. So Chinese, New York actually runs for a two week period of time. And it ends on what's called Y which means like lantern festival and their foods also noted for that celebration as well as special lantern decorations.
Speaker 1: (02:33)
And I know there's also like other traditions, like, you know, you may wear new clothes or clean the house. Tell me a bit about those. Well,
Speaker 2: (02:41)
You would want to clean the house prior to new year. You don't want to sweep out any good luck on new year's day itself. Uh, the, uh, family should all have new clothes. They should work to end all the deaths that they have. If you're a child you'll be presented with different, uh, colored red envelopes with slogans or drawings and inside the envelopes are money. So there's a phrase talking about, you know, happy new year, where is my bread envelope or my money bag. So even the local banks and Diego, whether it's a national chain or local chain often have the red envelope. So a customer could go in and ask some businesses, also distribute them. And for our own membership, we sent out a new year's letter and we included, uh, a red envelope just as a well wished to the receiver. The red envelopes can also be used besides New York. Let's say there's a wedding. You would present the red envelope to the bride and groom. If there's a new business, if someone celebrating at 80th or 90th birthday, you would present cash. So in Western, oftentimes there's and registry, and maybe you get three or four toasters for the Chinese. It really is more practical and convenient to give cash than it is to do a physical gift. So hope everyone has a red envelope in their future.
Speaker 1: (04:16)
And red is a color of significance for the Chinese new year. What does the color red symbolize for the culture and the celebrations?
Speaker 2: (04:24)
The red is such a rich, happy color. You see them on temps, you see them in the red dresses that some of the ladies will wear and you'll see the red and, uh, children's clothing. So it's just a rich, warm color and it just represents good fortune and happiness.
Speaker 1: (04:45)
And 2022 is the year of the tiger. What meaning does the tiger have for the new year?
Speaker 2: (04:51)
Oh, it's a really significant year because a tiger is someone who's courageous and someone who is confident. They always try to, to put forth brilliant ideas into actual practical plants. I must, I modestly say I am a tiger. Uh, my birthday comes in December of 2022 and since the tiger year begins tomorrow, Tuesday, I'm lucky in that I am a tiger person. Uh, so, uh, congratulations to anyone born in 2022, as well as anyone 20 10, 19 98, 19 86. So it's a 12 year cycle for the tiger. So those are some of the birth years for people.
Speaker 1: (05:43)
Interesting. And what's the significance of naming each year, a different animal.
Speaker 2: (05:47)
There's a legend saying that Lord Buddha had caught animals to his palace, and these are the 12 animals that did appear. So it includes like the mouse, which was the first animal. It includes a dog, a lamb, a dragon, a snake, a pig, a chicken. Uh, so some of those are the other, uh, animals that are celebrated during the 12 year period of time. How is
Speaker 1: (06:17)
Chinese new year typically celebrated here in San Diego?
Speaker 2: (06:21)
Typically there are a number of events such as street, fair dinners, hosted by clubs and organizations, our own organization, house of China, which is one of the founders of the international cottages and park has a scheduled February 19th and 20th event from 11 to five. So we have several lion, dance groups, cultural dance groups, music, even like hip hop dance. And we also will have people doing so there's a sample or a souvenir for them and a variety of food booths as well. Something is coming up next week in old China town, San Diego did have a tiny China town and there's gonna be a lion dance. And it's going to coincide with the naming of drive at third and market street. He and his family, uh, were one of the pioneers of the San Diego Chinatown that existed oh, in the 1910s 1920s. So people are welcomed to that celebration at 10:00 AM, but the big one this year is B park, the February 19 and 20, as other organizations that were scheduling. You know, our indoor venue is not practical, but our fair of course is out of door. So we're glad to welcome the public, but, you know, we still would advise people to wear mask and to keep just as much as possible.
Speaker 1: (08:00)
And that leads me to my next question. Have Chinese new year celebrations been impacted by the pandemic and does that persist
Speaker 2: (08:07)
This year? Well, I think the Chinese community has been in existence locally for hundreds of years and internationally for thousands of years. So the Chinese are very resilient last year because it was full lockdown, multiple organizations, such as our own and the Chinese school of San Diego. We did virtual programs where we had music dance, a lion dance, cultural segments, uh, that shared the rich history of the Chinese and was a way for people to still gather, but gather virtually, uh, we at house of China in our newsletter had pictures and demonstrations on how to fold the red envelopes into like paper balls or fans. And we included things like recipes. So people could still enjoy foods that were savory tasty and significant to them.
Speaker 1: (09:06)
I've been speaking with the executive officer of the house of China in BBO park. David said, David, thank you so much for joining us and happy new you.
Speaker 2: (09:15)
Well, thank you very much. So sun, which for the next.
Lunar New Year 2022 kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 1 as the Year of the Tiger. The Lunar New year falls on the first new moon after the winter's solstice or the second moon on a leap year, and each year is represented by a different animal.
It is celebrated by many cultures in East and Southeast Asia and comes with many traditions, each having a special meaning behind them.
David Seid, executive officer of the House of China in Balboa Park, joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about Chinese New Year traditions.
"Families gather, as will my family tonight for a celebratory dinner," he said. "It just signifies a happy time, a time of plentiful food, good, tasty food. Chinese have so many different types of food, and we're longing to just reconnect and to put aside maybe problems of the past and have hope for the future."
He said some of the traditions are cleaning the house prior to the new year, wearing new clothes and gifting money to children.
"You don't want to sweep out any good luck on New Year's Day itself," Seid said. "The families should all have new clothes. If you're a child, you'll be presented with different colored red envelopes with slogans or drawings, and inside the envelopes are money."
Seid said the color red symbolizes good fortune and happiness and can be seen a lot throughout the new year celebrations. He said the tiger year is a very significant year because the animal symbolizes courage and confidence.
"There's a legend saying that Lord Buddha had called animals to his palace, and these are the 12 animals that did appear," Seid said. "It includes the mouse, which was the first animal, and includes a dog, a lamb, a dragon, a snake, a pig and a chicken. So those are some of the other animals that are celebrated during the 12 year period of time."
Seid said local Lunar New Year events are resuming in person this year after being virtual last year.
"Our own organization, House of China, which is one of the founders of the international cottages in Balboa Park has a scheduled Feb. 19 and 20 event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Seid said. "We have several lion dance groups, cultural dance groups, music, and we also will have people doing calligraphy, so there are souvenirs for them, and a variety of food booths as well."
Little Saigon Foundation hosted its own Lunar New Year celebration this past weekend at Officer Jeremy Henwood Park in City Heights. The San Diego Tet Festival, hosted by the Vietnamese American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation, celebrating Vietnamese New Year, is this weekend in Mira Mesa.
The San Diego Chinese New Year Fair in downtown San Diego, presented by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, was canceled this year because of the omicron surge.
In City Heights on Monday, the start of the Lunar New Year celebration was marked by the unveiling of a new mural honoring the Vietnamese community at Minh Ky restaurant. The mural was designed by artist Thao Huynh French.
“This is the most meaningful mural I’ve ever painted in my life," she said at the unveiling. "I put eight to 11 hour days in, every single day, for eight days straight. So my hands feel like they're going to fall off, my eyes are very tired, but my heart is so full.”
The theme of the mural is "resilience," according to Viet Vote president Jean-Huy Tran.
"Our community has survived through the pandemic. We escaped the communists to come here and we still survived. We are survivors,” he said.
Other cultural celebrations at the event included a lion dance performance, firecrackers, music and gifts.
French said the mural carries extra meaning as she considers the neighborhood her community.
“Little Saigon is my home, I lived here for 10 years and I’ve been eating at this restaurant for as long as I can remember," she said. "It means a lot for me to show my art here and to make the community proud. And to boost morale after a couple of very hard years, to share the story of the Asian-American experience.”
Monday's ceremony also included a county proclamation issued by Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, naming Jan. 31, 2022, as "Viet Vote Day."