We Should Refer To It As 'Lunar New Year' Rather Than 'Chinese New Year'

We Should Refer To It As 'Lunar New Year' Rather Than 'Chinese New Year'

It's not just about the Chinese.
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Every year as Lunar New Year approaches, I receive a lot of funny questions such as “Is your new year and the Chinese New Year on the same date?” or "What is Lunar New Year? I only know Chinese New Year." But the most ridiculous question I get asked is “Why do the Viets celebrate the Chinese New Year when it’s “Chinese”?” What do you mean? This is exactly like asking why people around the world celebrate Christmas when not everyone believes in Jesus, or telling white people that they can’t have Chinese food because they aren’t Chinese. If we talk about something “Chinese,” I guess China has long dominated in manufacturing. Literally everything is made in China. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use the products just because they're "Chinese." In addition, a lot of Asian culture originates from China.

Let us call it Lunar New Year because it's not only the Chinese who celebrate it. Indeed, the holiday spread throughout Asia and was absorbed in Asian customs for centuries. China was in control of many Asian countries and they were assimilating us. It’s not only the Vietnamese; Koreans, Cambodians, Filipinos, Malaysians, Singaporeans, etc. still have Lunar New Year as the biggest holiday of the year.

Let us call it Lunar New Year, so it’s inclusive and we acknowledge the existence of some other Southeast Asian countries that also celebrate Lunar New Year. When it's "Chinese" New Year, it's specifically referring at the Chinese. Then what about the Laos, the Korean, the Vietnamese, etc. They can't celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinese style because each Asian country will have its own traditions for the holiday.

Let us call it Lunar New Year to appreciate our world diversity. Besides the Gregorian calendar used by the entire world, we use the Lunar calendar as part of our social life to associate a lot of rituals and traditions.

Let us call it Lunar New Year so that other countries will not feel left out on their biggest holiday of the year. Seeing a commercial or a big banner saying “Happy Chinese New Year” is like walking into someone’s birthday big birthday party on your birthday, observing people saying "Happy Birthday" to the other person and celebrate their big day when it’s also your big day but no one really knows and cares.


For us, Lunar New Year is not just the first day of a new year. It is the day of reunion where children and grandchildren come back to visit their home and family, to look back and reevaluate how their previous year has been, and to make new resolutions for the next year. Where everyone gives each other the most wonderful wishes, eats delicious traditional cuisines, and has an excuse to go shopping, refresh their look and redecorate everything. It remarks a fresh start.

In fact, Lunar New Year is NOT what we “borrow” and celebrate as something “foreign,” it is part of our culture. Culture is not what we create; it is what we inherit and pass on through generations. Through years of history, every culture must have been impacted by a lot of other culture to create its own uniqueness. So please be open-minded enough to respect other people's ethnicity and background.

Cover Image Credit: Kappit

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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