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Lunar New Year 2023


Lunar New Year 2023

The Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries that also follow the lunar calendar. In China, the holiday is called Spring Festival. The holiday begins today this year and will end in China with the Lantern Festival in early February. For most, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. In Vietnam, however, it is the Year of the Cat.

The Arts and Justice Collective is a collaboration of four local Cape Cod organizations striving to “establish an art, culture, and social justice hub” that is focused on historically excluded communities. The AJC held a Lunar New Year House Party yesterday morning.

For many years I was part of a friends group that celebrated Asian culture here in our corner of Massachusetts. Most of the families were Americans who had adopted children from Asia, the majority being from China. Those children are all grown up. Now, a new group of multicultural parents are bringing the tradition back as part of a wider platform of engagement.

The celebration filled a large meeting hall. As snow flurries fell outside, inside was alive with laughter, conversation, music, and more. The founder of Belonging Books Cape Cod, herself a Chinese woman originally from Western Canada, was the event’s emcee.

A young Chinese girl from the area, wearing traditional Chinese dress including a flowing silk shawl with light-purple, painted flowers, serenaded us with a euphonious guzheng performance from the stage.

Performers from the Hung Gar Kung Fu and Lion Dance Academy raised the roof as raucous yellow and red lions marched in and danced through the hall accompanied by percussive beating, crashing cymbals, and a lot of oohing and aahing. Students from the Academy later gave a Kung fu demonstration, complete with thrusting punches, twisting kicks, and twirling swords (not real blades).

A display of children's books about the New Year, reunions, pandas, dragons, and dimsum.

Arts and crafts tables included calligraphy and paper cutting.

Mahjong. I tried to help, but I am rusty on the rules.

A throwing pot (投壶, touhu) game was placed on the floor along one wall. Children tried in vain to toss their arrows into the narrow mouth of the slender-necked, bronze-colored vessel.

A bowl of oranges and a pineapple symbolizing good luck and prosperity and information on New Year's customs graced another exhibit.

I chatted with a friend and her children and met her grandson. I ran into a woman, a Chinese teacher in a local school, who knew my late wife when she, too, was a Chinese teacher in a local school years ago. Little children bounced throughout the hall enjoying their New Year celebration. Parents were smiling. The mood was relaxed; the feeling rich.

Happy Year of the Rabbit (and Cat)!!


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