The Lunar New Year begins today.
Lunar New Year is celebrated in many southeast and east Asian countries including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities. The holiday is based on the lunar new year calendar between the first new moon till the first full moon. It is usually celebrated for days on end within 15 days or so.
For every lunar new year the zodiac animals change; they vary from rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Every new animal corresponds with an element being earth, water, fire, wood, or metal.
This year is the year of the rabbit attached to the water element. Which is said to symbolize longevity, prosperity, cautiousness, calmness, etc.. The last time it was the year of the rabbit was in 2011.
People who celebrate this holiday have their own traditions whether celebrating with their favorite foods and activities or celebrating with their own traditions. One tradition is deep cleaning the house before the new year to get rid of the negative energy and spirits and to prepare to welcome what the new year is set to bring. Older people tend to hand out red envelopes containing money to children. Some write letters on red paper with messages of good wishes and hang them around their homes both inside and out.
AB 2596 is a new bill that was signed by California governor Gavin Newsom in 2022 that recognizes the Lunar New Year as an official state holiday starting at the beginning of 2023. This new holiday allows California state employees with specified exceptions to receive eight hours of pay on the holiday.
Math teacher Ashlee Angel was unaware that it wasn’t a state holiday already but says, “it’s great that recognition is being given.” Junior Melanie Cerezo says, “Seems long overdue as I know this holiday is a huge day for people to spend with family.”