Lunar New Year: how Silver Creek students do it right

A night view of Vietnam during a Tết festival. Photo via Indochina Odyssey Tours.

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Talented and ambitious students gathered at the X-Quad to showcase their performative qualities in celebration of Lunar New Year on Feb. 2, 2022. These performances were just a spectacle into the meaningful traditions practiced throughout numerous Asian cultures in celebration of Lunar New Year. How is Lunar New Year celebrated by students at Silver Creek? What are traditions so valuable to the Lunar New Year itself? 

Lunar New Year is a New Years’ celebration most commonly celebrated by Southeast and East Asian countries. Despite traditions taking place before and after, Lunar New Year, or Tết, is formally celebrated on Feb. 2, 2022. Seeing that Lunar New Year is not recognized as a holiday break day at Silver Creek, many clubs organized performances to honor the past year and attract abundance and luck in preparation for the road ahead. 

Silver Creek’s Lion Dance Club arranged an impressive performance of beautiful dancing and prowling lions, whereas K-Pop club choreographed a coordinated and eloquent dance to BLACKPINK’s “Crazy Over You.” Several students dressed up in tastefully designed áo dài (Vietnamese long dresses) to represent traditional Vietnamese clothing for Silver Creek’s Vietnamese Student Association and for their personal liking. 

Students gather to watch the Silver Creek Lion Dance Club perform. Photo by Trina Vu.

So, if there wasn’t any school on Lunar New Year, what would students celebrating this long-awaited holiday do? Lunar New Year traditions and practices vary depending on the culture celebrating it. In Vietnamese cuisine, bánh tét, a savory glutinous rice cake with pork and mung bean filling is enjoyed with a side of dưa món, a mix of vegetables pickled using fish sauce. New Years’ festivals are also organized with festivities such as karaoke and lion dancing performances. The Grand Century Mall Tét Festival in East San Jose is a popular festival with Tét performances in combination with an amusement park. 

A sunset view from the Grand Century Mall Tét Festival ferris wheel. Photo by Trina Vu. 

A tradition more widely practiced across countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea and Vietnam is the renowned red envelope. Red envelopes can be given to individuals of any age, but this tradition mostly caters to younger people. Inside the red envelope lies an amount of money subjective to who is receiving it. This tradition is a favorite of many, such as freshmen Tanzie Tran and Amanda Quach. “Money in red envelopes is the number one part of the Lunar New Year,” Quach said. 

“Asides from lì xì (red envelopes), firecrackers are also a fun tradition I look forward to. The more firecrackers lit, the more luck you have,” Tran elaborated. Tran also recalled having heard firecrackers lit from 9 P.M. all the way to 6 A.M. promptly, which really added to the Lunar New Year “feel.” 

Lunar New Year is a holiday that unites friends, families, and peers through so many different traditions. There are endless ways to celebrate such an s-tier holiday and Silver Creek students have organized celebrations rightfully honoring the values of Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is a day to grant and be granted prosperity, abundance and good health, which best concludes that Silver Creek did Lunar New Year the right way – especially on a school day. 

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