By Kaitlyn Tran
San Jose celebrates Lunar New Year by having festivals open to the community. These festivals include lion dancing, performances and parades. The holiday is celebrated by many cultures, such as the Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean communities. My family is Vietnamese, so we celebrate it by being with our families, playing games, setting off firecrackers, giving red envelopes and eating food.
Left: This is the Year of the Rooster; whatever animal represents that year is used for decoration. PHOTO CREDIT: Deanna Nguyen
Top right: During Lunar New Year, elders usually give children red envelopes that have money inside while the children wish the elders wealth and prosperity.
Bottom right: Here are more envelopes that are given to children as gifts. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Top left: A plate of fruit symbolizes health and luck. It is typical for a household to have a plate of multiple fruits.
Top middle: Cherry blossoms are used as decoration because they’re yellow and people want be surrounded by bright colors during Lunar New Year. PHOTO CREDIT: Paulina Tran
Top right: Flowers are commonly used to decorate around the house. Yellow signifies happiness and freedom. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Bottom left: Red is the most common color you see when it’s Lunar New Year. The color symbolizes good fortune and joy. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Bottom right: In most households that celebrate Lunar New Year, people use tangerine trees or a tree with simple flowers to put their red envelopes on.
Left: This dish, Banh Tet, can be both savory and sweet by having bean paste and meat or lightly sweetened sticky rice and cooked bananas. This dish symbolizes the sky.
Top right: When Lunar New Year rolls around, many food is sold in packaging that shows the spirit of the New Year. This is a red meat that is pulled into many thin pieces and has sesame seeds sprinkled over.
Bottom right: When Lunar New Year comes around, Vietnamese people eat a sticky rice cake called Banh Chung. Inside, it has cooked bean paste and meat. This dish symbolizes the Earth.
Top left: Sometimes people who are a part of a lion dance group come out at night and start performing. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Top right: This is a game that is played during a family gathering and is usually played with money. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Middle right: At events and festivals, lion dances are performed to provide entertainment and to make the festivals seem more lively. PHOTO CREDIT: Lisa Le
Bottom left: During Lunar New Year events or festivals, people perform dances in a lion costume as others play music with drums and cymbals. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Bottom right: Many places, such as grocery stores and shops, use lion costumes and flowers as decorations to show that Lunar New Year is coming up. PHOTO CREDIT: Lisa Le
Top left: At many Lunar New Year festivals, the area is decorated with lanterns and bright colors. PHOTO CREDIT: Adryanna Nguyen
Top right: Around Lunar New Year, many households set off firecrackers, and this is what the remains look like after they go off. The noise of the firecrackers is believed to scare off evil spirits. PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Nguyen
Bottom: Around Lunar New Year, places are decorated with scrolls that say Happy New Year. PHOTO CREDIT: Lisa Le
Right: The Ao Dai is what Vietnamese people wear during special occasions, especially Lunar New Year. It is made out of silk; but, depending on the style, it can be made out of other materials. PHOTO CREDIT: Thanh Tran