Blair's Chinese Club shows the kind of dragon seen in the street for
the New Year celabration in Vietnam and China.
New Year'sday is a big celebration in many the countries, but there are
some countries where New Year's Day is not on the first day of January.
Some countries use different calendars, so they also have different customs to
celebrate this holiday.
The sponsor for the Cambodian Club, Mrs. Natalie
Chuong said, "The Cambodian
New Year is not on January first. The Cambodian New Year celebration is on the
12th, 13th, and 14th of April according to the Gregorian calendar," she
said. The holidays lasts for three days.
The people of Cambodia will buy something new or
adorn their homes to wait for
the coming festival day. "We clean and decorate our houses as well as
set up an altar to welcome the New Year spirit," Ms. Natalie said."
On New Year's Day everyone uses a special custom to celebrate a good life
in the future. "People douse each other with water as a blessing. Water
can be colored red, pink, or yellow to symbolize a colorful future."
Catherine Lee, an 11th grader, added that people would play some games such
tug-of-war, and Ahaul Chhoung at the monasteries on each day of the New Year.
Catherine said, " The tug-of-war game is two groups of people who are
using a rope to try pulling against each other. The group that pulls the other
group to the other side is the winner. The Ahaul Chhoung is a game that is played
with a ball made of a scarf.
Mostly people think that adults give gifts to their children, but for Cambodian
New Year it's different. "Children give money to their parents,
aunts, and uncles as a sign of respect," Catherine said. They may also
give food or fruit in addition.
Cambodia is a very traditional country; they still
keep their ancestor's
customs. "The third day of the New Year is the day the Buddha statues
in the homes and the monasteries are washed. It's meaning to most Cambodians
is to ensure good rains during the coming year," she said. "Children
wash the feet of their parents as a sign of respect on this day as well," Catherine
China and Vietnam
China and Vietnam use the Lunar calendar. On the Lunar calendar, the New Year
day is different every year. Normally it is in February, but this year New Year
was on January 22.
Lunar New Year is a very big festive day for Chinese and Vietnamese people. "In
the whole country companies and factories will be closed for a whole week to
celebrate the big, festive New Year's Day," said Xiao Wen, a student
A week before the New Year, the people will go to purchase things and adorn their
houses. "We will be buying flowers, tangerine trees, New Year couplets,
and lettuce. The flowers and tangerine trees are put inside the house to decorate
it. The New Year couplet is a greeting of red paper paste on the walls at home.
Lettuce is used to hang outside above the door," Xiao Wen said. All of
the things represent good luck in the New Year.
On New Year's Eve every family will be together to have a very, very abundant
dinner. "Chinese people call it a reunion dinner," Xiao Wen said.
At midnight everyone will light firecrackers to celebrate the New Year's
arrival, "It's extremely noisy. No one can sleep at this time," she
Also many people will be gathering in the temples, like a bunch of ants. "At
midnight we will have a lot of people who go to worship god, to hope the god
brings them good luck, safety and security in the New Year," she said.
During the day there are so many activities in the streets on New Year's
Day. "We will see a lot of performances such as the lion dance and dragon
dance and the floats in parades on the New Year's day. It is very festive," she
said. "The lion dance and the dragon dance are to keep bad spirits away." The Chinese people have a lot of customs for the beginning of the New Year. "On
the first day of the new year we can't wash our hair or sweep in the house," Xiao
Wen said, "We must wait until the second day when we can clean and do
whatever we want to do." The ancestors said if we mop the house we would
drive the Cai Shen away. Cai Shen is the lucky god who bestows luck on people,
so the lucky god is very important for people. The people believe that in the
New Year the lucky god will come in their house to make their fortune lucky," she
Also the first day is only for the members of the family to celebrate. "We
will greet our parents and family members. Then they will be give us red envelopes
for luck. There is money inside the red envelopes."
The second day is different. "After we worship at the altar and eat a
meal on the second New Year morning, then we can to visit our friends to give
greetings for the New Year. The second day is open for people to visit," she
Ethiopia is another country that has a different New Year's day. According
to Woubit Langano, a senior who came from Ethiopia, "The Ethiopia New
Year is on September 11 on the Western calendar." The Ethiopian calendar
is also seven years behind the Western calendar.
The Ethiopians will be dressed in special clothing on New Year's day. "All
of the people are wearing white clothes," said Dina Asegedew, a Blair
student. Ethiopian New Year is a religious celebration. "On New Year's
Eve the people will go to church," she said.
Coffee for Ethiopians is very important; the Ethiopians really like to drink
it. Everyone has a coffee tree outside their house. After the New Year's
lunch, the people will have a coffee celebration.
In Ethiopia New Year's day is fun for the kids. "Those younger
than 15 will go in their neighborhood to sing a New Year's song. Then
the neighbors will give them money for the New Year," she said.
Also every year the members of the family will unite to spend the New Year. "Wherever
they live, even far away, they will come back to celebrate the New Year." All
the relatives will be getting together to have a great dinner.