The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Chinese New Year: A lifelong tradition

Graphic+by+Kaitlyn+Patterson+20.
Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson ’20.

A student’s experience


The Year of the Rooster is nearly here. Jan. 28 marks the start of a new year in the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, a milestone otherwise known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.

This holiday is one of the most import- ant economic and social holidays in China, but Chinese New Year is commemorated around the world, with several major cele- brations across the United States.

While one’s experience celebrating Chi- nese New Year certainly di ers from family to family and depends on one’s location amid other factors, Saint Joseph’s University student Sabrina Chen, ’19, shared some of her experiences with celebrating Chinese New Year.

Chen has visited China as a child, but was born in America and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I live in a very heavily Asian populat- ed neighborhood, but there are also a lot of other cultures that live with us,” Chen said. “We coexist in a way, but there is also a clash of cultures. It’s nice to have a di erent view of di erent cultures.”

In the past, Chen has celebrated Chinese New Year at home with family, friends, and a lot of food. For her family, the holiday begins with important traditions.

“My mom would invite people over and we would start with a prayer. She would pray to ancestors to thank them and for good luck,” Chen said. “And when she was praying it was like she was giving food to ancestors for them to eat, like a taste of home.”

Another important tradition that Chen mentioned is that nearly everyone cele- brating the Chinese New Year wears red to symbolize happiness, upbeat energy, and good luck. One of Chen’s favorite memories of the holiday includes sporting a red dress as a young girl.

“My mom has told me that when I was ve or six years old I wore red and I saw re crackers go o and the Lion Dance, and to me it was a big moment,” Chen said. “My parents told me I wore the red dress all day and would not take it o .”

Last year, Chen spent her rst Chinese New Year away from home with some friends at St. Joe’s. “I am part of [the] Asian Student Association at St. Joe’s, and we hung out and ate and watched the parade in Chinatown in Philly.”

According to Chen, she enjoys cele- brating Chinese New Year because it brings her closer to her Chinese heritage and her parents, who take o work for the holiday.

“It’s important to me because I was born in the United States, and it’s the only

thing that makes me feel connected to my culture because I haven’t been back to Chi- na in more than nine years, so celebrating this helps me feel closer to everyone that I don’t really know,” Chen said.

Chen may be returning home to spend the holiday with family this year, but here in the city of Philadelphia, the Year of the Rooster is being welcomed in the coming weeks with parades, dance performances, dinners, and more.

On Jan. 27, the festivities will include traditional Chinese dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a feast held by West Philly’s International House at 7 p.m. en, at 11:30 p.m. in Chinatown, Lion Dance performances by the Philadelphia Suns and a midnight parade featuring re- works will be held. e next day, Jan. 28, will see a continuation of the upbeat revelries, including cultural activities and crafts at the Independence Seaport Museum starting at 11 a.m. Dim Sum Brunch and Lion Dance performances will be held at Buddakan, a popular restaurant serving Asian fare, throughout the morning and afternoon.

With these festivities and many more occurring throughout the coming weeks in Philadelphia, it’s easy to immerse yourself into this important Chinese holiday, giving thanks for another year gone by and look- ing forward to a prosperous year to come.

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