How Roswell celebrated the lunar new year

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Chinese New Year began January 25th and ends February 4th| Credit: Ava Weinreb

Ava Weinreb, Director of Business

    There is an array of cultures and celebrations throughout the Roswell area, and as January comes to a close, it sparks the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar.

While in typical western culture, the celebration of a new year lasts only one day, the Chinese or Lunar New Year lasts several weeks. The first eight days are spent as preparation for the New Year festivities as well as reflecting on the past year. The next 11 days are a celebration for the new year, which began on Jan. 25 this year, and finally, the last four days are preparation for the lantern festival that is held on Feb. 8.

The floating of the lanterns is meant to bring back tradition and family to the new year and is also a time for socialization and freedom. Before the modern wave of women’s rights, women were not allowed out of the house except for on the day in which they lit the lanterns, where they were given the freedom to roam the streets and play games to celebrate the New Year.

Not only is this year the beginning of the decade, but it is also the Year of the Rat, the first of the zodiac animals. The Rat is known for being clever and sneaky, and in traditional Chinese culture, a symbol of wealth and surplus. The city of Atlanta holds its own lantern festival, beginning in December and stretching all the way into January.

While it may not resemble the genuine festival held in China, it gives people around the Atlanta area a chance to witness the beauty and get a better understanding of the cultural significance of the Lunar New Year. Many students at Roswell also celebrate the Lunar New Year, like junior Angela Chang, who spent her New Years’ with her friends and family. “It’s an exciting time to spend with family and celebrate the new year.”