Lunar new year is a time for big celebrations for many people all around the world. On Jan. 21 2023 at the Hayward Library, we had an astonishing Lunar New Year celebration. The Hayward Library is a seemingly recent library, with it being built in 2019, this event was the first that the Hayward library has hosted and was well attended.
More than 300 people came to observe and participate. The celebration’s hosts, Librarian Wenny Wallace, and Jayanti Addleman, the Director of Library services, wanted to bring the community together with performance art in dances and singing to make people feel comfortable just the way they are.
The Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of a brand new Lunar calendar year, the holiday honors the heritage and brings people, both young and old, together from many different Asian cultures and backgrounds. In an insightful interview with Wenny Wallace, she says “This is to bring the community together. I saw some people start to talk to each other. That is the reason why I feel Lunar New Year is important, one, to keep the heritage, and two, is to bring together the whole community, not only small communities like Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese communities. Bring all of them together.”
Lunar New Year celebrations are not the same everywhere. For example, in some places, people would visit their families and stay with them, eat various foods, and have a good time. While in America, celebrations are likely a community event. The holiday isn’t only celebrated in Chinese culture, many festivities take place in Korea, Vietnam, and more.
Lunar New Year traditions, which have a history of about 3,500 years, in the words of Wenny Wallace, are “Like Christmas,” where you take your time to visit family and friends. These traditions and elements hold different significance. For example, 2023 is the year of the rabbit on the Chinese Zodiac calendar, and that represents peace and prosperity. Also, the importance of the color red is a key thing to mention, which represents luck/good fortune. Firecrackers also play a big role in Lunar New Year celebrations used to scare away bad luck and bad energy from the year prior.
With the event’s big turnout, a monumental moment for them, so much so that they are open to doing another one next year. In the words of Wenny Wallace, “You should feel proud about your own culture.”