How Students at YLHS Celebrated Lunar New Years


Courtesy of Ced Commerce

For 2021, Lunar New Year celebrates the year of the ox.

Anita Tun, Photojournalist

Lunar New Year is typically celebrated in Asian countries to commemorate the beginning of the lunisolar calendar. Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, falls between the end of January and February; this year, it falls on February 12th. Lunar New Year rotates 12 zodiac animals every year, with each animal holding a different significance, and this year is the year of the ox. 


However, COVID-19 has greatly altered how households around the globe celebrate this Lunar New Year. Stephanie Mao (10) celebrates the holiday every year, and she still managed to experience her family’s typical traditions; the most significant difference was that she “facetimed family members as well as ate New Year’s dinner a day earlier so [she] can celebrate with [her] family in China.”


For Sarah Huynh (10), her family celebrates Chinese New Year by “usually meeting up with all [her] relatives at someone’s house and having a potluck. [They] eat, talk, and play games to celebrate.” This year, she instead stayed home with her direct family and did not visit relatives to keep each other safe during COVID-19 and alternatively had a nice dinner.


Camille Khong (10) spent this year at her aunt’s house and “set up the altar to honor [her] grandparents and Buddha, and [they] prayed and then cooked vegetarian food.”


Typically Khong would have “a huge party where [they] get all [their] red envelopes and wish the elders a prosperous new year and play traditional games, but obviously, [they] could not do that. [They] did the best [they] could with honoring more of the religious aspect of the holiday and saved the games for later when [they] can see each other”


This year, Natalie Neal (10) went shopping for fruit and yellow and red flowers for an altar dedicated to her deceased relatives. Her family also gave each other red envelopes and played an Asian board game too. 


COVID-19 has changed the Lunar New Year celebration this year, but many traditions were still celebrated. During this time, China expects its citizens to take 1.15 billion trips around the holidays; however, it is worth noting that this estimate is 60% lower than 2019 and 20% lower than 2020, which was around the time COVID-19 rapidly began to spread (Bloomberg). 


Whether it means wearing red for good luck or yellow for wealth, giving out red envelopes with money inside, or performing religious ceremonies, the holiday did not feel the same. However, it is significant to keep others safe and slow the spread as families will one day return to a traditional Lunar New Year celebration after this unprecedented time.