Branson celebrates Lunar New Year


Abby Keenley

12 animals represent the Chinese zodiacs based on the lunar calendar. This year is the Year of the Tiger.

By Reese Dahlgren

Feb. 1 marked the start of the Lunar New Year celebration. Most commonly celebrated in East Asian cultures, the 15-day festival honors the beginning of the new year on the lunar calendar. Families often come together to celebrate with their own traditions and activities. Here’s a look into how Branson students and faculty embrace the new year celebration. 


How do you celebrate the Lunar New Year?

Matt Chan, college counselor: “I typically have dinner with both sides of my family. My dad’s side celebrates Lunar New Year, and my mom’s side celebrates Tet, which is the Vietnamese celebration of the new year.” 


Daphne Hwang, a senior: “I eat food with my family, like dumplings, oranges, sticky rice cakes, and other foods.” 


Sophie Liu, a junior: “For me, Lunar New Year is about spending time with family. We don’t typically do anything extravagant.” 


Aimee Yang, a sophomore: “I celebrate Lunar New Year with my family. We eat fish because there’s a saying, “nian nian you yu,” which means wealth, happiness, and health. We also eat long noodles because they represent a long and healthy life.” 


What family traditions do you have?

Chan: “Lunar New Year always involves a lot of food. Honestly, my family eats a smorgasbord; it’s not always Chinese or Vietnamese. This year we ate roasted pork belly as the main event. We also made time for handing out red envelopes and going to Chinatown to watch the parade.”

Hwang: “I wear red because it represents good luck. My extended family also starts email chains to wish each other a happy new year.” 


Liu: “My family usually has a nice meal where we order dim sum or get takeout. We’ll occasionally cook scallion pancakes or dumplings as our main activity.”


Yang: “My family eats lots of dumplings. When I was little, we used to make dumplings and play a game where my parents would secretly put nuts in a few of them, and whoever ate the nuts won something special. We also wear qipao, which is traditional Chinese clothing. I wear a yellow qipao, and my dad and grandpa wear black qipao suits. “


What does Lunar New Year mean to you? 

Chan: “Lunar New Year makes me feel closer to home. Family, friends, and food are all parts of who I am. It’s a greater celebration that reminds me that I’m a part of something bigger.”


Hwang: “Lunar New Year is a time to be with my family.”


Liu: “Lunar New Year is really special to my family and my culture. It’s one of the few times where I feel truly connected to my Chinese heritage.”


Yang: “It marks the beginning of a new year, so I want to celebrate with the people I love and bring luck and prosperity to my family.”