January 25, 2020, kicked off the Year of The Rat for the Asian celebration of the Lunar New Year. Like much of the rest of the world celebrates New Year’s Eve The Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday in Asian culture. You may recognize it as “Chinese New Year.”
During this time, usually the middle part of January through mid-February, the older generation of Asians will give red envelopes containing money are to children. This is a symbol of passing fortune from the elders to the younger generation. The money can be spent by donating some of the funds to Buddhist temples, purchasing toys, or gambling games that can be found on the streets of their country.
Celebrations can last for one day up to a week and participating in parades, worshipping, and feasting. The festivities include using fireworks, drums, and other loud noises to “scare off evil spirits” that may bring negativity and bad luck to the people. Many Asians decorate their homes with various fruit blossoms which symbolize fertility and fruitfulness for the family and additional red decorations symbolize good fortune. A series of greeting are exchanged between children and elders to express good health, fortune and prosperity to each other.
And like any holiday, food is likely to be the center of attention. Family will gather to give thanks with traditional dishes including sticky rice, pickled onions and cabbage, candied fruits, and stewed pork meat. Celebrate the Year of the Rat by consuming dumplings, which represent fortune, or spring rolls, that represent a fresh start, or a fish dish for luck.
According to Chinese culture, The Year of the Rat is said to bring success through hard work, and new beginnings through relationships.