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The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

How to stay lucky for the Lunar New Year

Illustration+by+Rebeca+Hernandez
Rebeca Hernandez
Illustration by Rebeca Hernandez

“Don’t cut your hair during the Lunar New Year.” You will cut off your wealth and luck for the year. At least that is what my parents would tell me when I was a kid, and I’ve continued to follow this rule ever since.

Lunar New Year started on Feb. 10, and will continue for the next 15 days after. One of the biggest aspects of the holiday is welcoming in good fortune, wealth, health and luck for the year. 

Here are some ways that students at Cal State LA stay lucky for the Lunar New Year: 

One of the biggest traditions on Lunar New Year is to give out red envelopes, often containing money and are given by relatives. In my family, married couples are obligated to give out red envelopes. 

When receiving a red envelope, it is expected for you to wish the other person a happy lunar new year.

Multiple students said that this was the main way that they would stay lucky for the new year.

“I give out red envelopes full of money,” said TVFM major William Blake Wolf Luong, a Vietnamese American. “I just celebrate, have fun, and eat food together with my family.”

Second-year Emiliana Bio is half Hispanic and half Filipino and said that her family doesn’t really celebrate the Lunar New Year, but they still have their own traditions to stay lucky. She said that her family collects money and places it in the corners of the house for good luck.

“For my family it’s kind of like being wealthy for the new year or we’ll have more luck in the year,” Bio said.

She said that she learned this tradition from her grandfather, who is part of the Filipino side of her family. 

“My grandpa also has a money tree that he believes will give him wealth and luck, so he will tie dollar bills, coins to the tree,” Bio said.

Fourth year Kenneth Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, celebrates Tết Nguyên Đán, which is the Vietnamese version of the new year celebrations. 

“We do a lot of things beforehand and during the new year, such as meeting with family,” Nguyen said. “We also do cleaning beforehand and make sure to set up our altars.”

Nguyen said that they set up the altars to honor their ancestors.

“We set up different fruits for the altars, and just making sure to pray at temple, having incense out, and then also leaving food for our ancestors to indulge,” Nguyen said.

The color red symbolizes prosperity and good luck in Chinese and other East Asian cultures. Wearing the color during the new year is another way that students have said they stay lucky. 

Electrical engineering major, Andres Cagungun, a Filipino American, said that his family “definitely wears red” during the new years.

Nguyen said that he plans to wear an Áo dài, a traditional Vietnamese garment that is directly translated to mean “long shirt.” 

While these are some ways to stay lucky, there are more ways to avoid losing your luck during the new year. I spoke with elders from my family about what to avoid in order to maximize your luck.

Cutting your hair is one thing, but it is also unlucky to wash your hair during the Lunar New Year. This is because you will wash away your fortune for the year. However, you only need to do this for the first day of the Lunar New Year, which is Feb. 10.

Don’t sweep your floors during the new year. The act is the same as sweeping away all the good fortune that has come in your household for the year. My mother personally recommended waiting at least three days after Feb. 10 before you can sweep the floors.

Many in Asia avoid wearing black or white, since those colors are associated with funerals. Wearing these clothes symbolizes bringing death and grief during the year. However, if you don’t have red in your closet, other colors are okay.

Don’t scold others or say words of misfortune. This behavior is believed to  welcome negativity into your year. Instead you can wish others good fortune with phrases like “gōngxǐ fācái,” which means “ I hope you are prosperous,” or  “Xīn xiǎng shì chéng,” which means “I hope your wishes come true.”

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About the Contributors
Anne To, Editor-In-Chief
Anne To is the Editor in Chief of the UT and also the co-Station manager of the Golden Eagle Radio. She loves working on audio production with radio, podcasting, and more! You may have seen some of her comics with the Life of Biffy series. During her free time she is either taking a nap, or playing video games.  
Rebeca Hernandez, Illustrator & Production Assistant
Rebeca Hernandez is the Illustrator and Production Assistant for the University Times (UT). She is a fourth-year graphic design major. She holds an interest in typography and print design. She has experience in branding, poster and flyer design, and illustration.
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