As the Lunar New Year approaches, many families around the world gear up for vibrant celebrations, each with their unique customs and traditions. Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with 8th grader Hannah, who graciously shares insights into her family's preparations and favorite Lunar New Year traditions.

Q: How does your family typically prepare for Lunar New Year celebrations?

Hannah: There are a lot of things we prepare. One of the first things is the food. We usually prepare a rice cake with meat on the inside, banh chung. Another big thing is red envelopes, in Vietnamese we call them "li xi." We use a lot of red, which is for good luck. The red envelopes contain money, which is green, which also means good luck. We also host celebrations during the weekend where we have festival activities and a lot of dragon dancing.

Q: What are some of your favorite traditions or customs associated with the Lunar New Year, and why do you enjoy them?

Hannah: My favorite tradition is receiving the red envelopes. Everyone hopes for them. You get in a line to someone who hands them out, you say in your native language what you wish for them, and they will say something back. The biggest part of that is a deeper connection with my grandma, and it is one moment I get to spend with her just talking.

Q: What do you think your classmates or the St. Anne's community who don't normally celebrate Lunar New Year might find most interesting or surprising about Lunar New Year celebrations?

Hannah: Practically, a lot of people know about this holiday, but every time I take a friend out to the festival, they have such a big reaction. There are a ton of street food and stands, and they actually see live dragon dancers, which they find fascinating.

Q: How do you think celebrating Lunar New Year adds to the diversity and cultural awareness within the St. Anne's community?

Hannah: Just being myself helps bring awareness; it's a part of me. People celebrate it differently from each culture, and I am able to help others understand my culture better by talking about it and just being me, who is Vietnamese.

Hannah's passion for Lunar New Year celebrations is evident as she shares her family's traditions and the happiness they bring her.  As we celebrate diversity, it's vital to embrace and learn from each other's cultural practices, fostering understanding and unity within our communities.