In the Chinese Zodiac, this coming year is the year of the Tiger. The Year of the Tiger is about “power, boldness, risk-taking, adventure, and going big or going home.”
At PsyMood we are excited to celebrate the festivities that represent the cultural backgrounds of all our specialists and users. Today marks the start of Lunar New Year. We are excited to understand what Lunar New Year is all about first hand as well as how you can keep safe during the pandemic and celebrate this exciting time of year, from our mental health specialist Trang Duong. Trang is certified and has worked for the last eight years as a Registered Social Worker in Ontario and speaks both Vietnamese and English.
Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in East and Southeast Asian countries. It is the festival that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar. This year, Lunar New Year will be celebrated today, on February 1, 2022.
Despite sharing the same lunar calendar, each region may have unique interpretations, zodiacs, celebrations, and traditions.
Growing up in a Vietnamese household, Lunar New Year was always a memorable experience, filled with family, food, celebrations, and customs. We would thoroughly clean the house prior to the new lunar year to remove any bad luck that may be lingering inside (sweeping off the ground). There was múa lân (lion dancing)- lân is an animal that is a cross between a lion and a dragon, and is the symbol of strength in Vietnamese culture that is used to scare away evil spirits. On New Year’s Day, you would give and receive red envelopes containing small amounts of lucky money. We would eat traditional foods, that each symbolize different things. I always looked forward to this time spent with family. With the global pandemic, this time of year may look very different, and thus, it can be a difficult time for many.
Here are some tips for the upcoming Lunar New Year, even if your celebrations and customs look different this year.
- Have a small gathering (following public health guidelines), and/or a virtual party with your family.
- Find ingredients and make traditional foods you would normally have on Lunar New Year. For example, make a 5-fruit fruit tray.
- Fill your space with decorations and things that remind you of Lunar New Year.
- Try your hand at arts and crafts and make some paper lanterns.
- Watch a virtual lion dance or join a virtual cultural cooking class or event.
It can be hard to be in the festive spirit when your celebrations may not look the same as they usually are. However, help is available at PsyMood. Whichever way you choose to celebrate Lunar New Year this year, remember that the holiday is about reuniting with family, health, fortune, and happiness.
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