The Lunar New Year welcomes the arrival of spring and the start of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. Celebrated in Asian communities around the world including China, South Korea and Vietnam, the 15-day festival is full of rich traditions and culture. This Lunar New Year, which begins on Feb. 10, is the year of the dragon on the Chinese zodiac calendar.
Akron Children’s Tsulee Chen, MD, FAANS, director of pediatric neurosurgery for the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, shares how she celebrates with family and friends.
What is your role at Akron Children’s, and how long have you been with the hospital?
I’m division director of pediatric neurosurgery, and I’ve been with Akron Children’s since 2012.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Akron Children’s?
I enjoy the friendly culture and overall willingness to continue to be better.
What does the start of the Lunar New Year mean to you, and how do you typically celebrate?
The Lunar New Year means a lot of good food and quality time with family.
I try to celebrate with my family, who are mostly located in the Washington D.C. area. It usually means lots of food and playing Mah Jong for hours!
What are some Lunar New Year traditions that you’d like to share?
I try to wear the color red. One is supposed to wear something new. Also, if I remember, I send my nephews “hong bao,” which are red envelopes of money.
The Lunar New Year is supposed to be a 15-day celebration with traditional foods (whole fish, soup mochi dumplings with “surprise” fillings, 7-vegetable stir fry, etc.). You’re supposed to deep clean the home prior to the first day. The first night is a feast with friends and family, where you eat one side of a whole fish. The second day, you pay your respects to those who have passed away, and you eat the second side of the whole fish. This is to symbolize a full belly for the year to come. The third day is for visiting friends.