Monday, January 23, 2017

Writing about Lesser-Known Holidays: Lunar New Year by Tina Cho

January 28th marks Lunar New Year! I remember growing up in the Midwest of America hardly acknowledging that it was on the calendar. We might occasionally order Chinese food and that was the extent of our celebration. Now that I live in Asia, it's a three-day holiday in South Korea. It's one of the most important holidays of the year, sort of like a second Christmas. People give practical gifts of money, fruits, meat trays, or other foods. They might dress in traditional clothing, and most return to their hometowns for feasting and honoring relatives with deep bows. Children reap the most benefits, receiving hefty sums of money from relatives. Some play traditional games, but everyone enjoys relaxation from work and seeing old faces.
The New Year's bow: My children bowing in front of my father-in-law. Afterwards, he gives them money.
When I looked for books about Lunar New Year, I only found those about how the Chinese celebrate. I couldn't find any in our school library about the Korean celebration. My search on Pinterest found one.



I know Korean publishers have produced them, but I don't know of any others in English. (If you do, please tell me.) So my ears and eyes will be searching this weekend for fresh story ideas about this holiday. 

I did make something about Lunar New Year from Korean culture to use in my classroom. I put it in my little Teachers Pay Teachers store. I've already sold some. 

What about other lesser-known holidays told from your culture or background? Kids and adults would appreciate learning how a variety of people celebrate. It's important to keep traditions alive and pass to the next generation.

And for those of you needing ideas in your Idea Notebook (hint, hint Storystorm), I hope something here will help.



 Now go scour the calendar and find those holidays. How can you add your spin on it?


Happy Lunar New Year!

If you'd like more info on writing about culture, please see my other posts here and here.

15 comments:

  1. Thank-you for this post, Tina! I know about Chinese New Year because I have a few Chinese friends, but I didn't know about the Korean celebration. It's great to learn more about how people celebrate. I'm originally from Canada but live in Ireland, where we have Women's Little Christmas, celebrated on January 6th. This is tradition where at the end of the 12 days of Christmas, the women of the house gets to put her feet up for the day while the men and kids take care of everything. Nowadays, it's more of a day out for the ladies, but it's nice to know the roots of the tradition. :)

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    1. What a neat holiday! I wish we could experience that Women's Little Christmas! Do write about it!

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  2. Happy Lunar New Year to you, Tina. This is such an important topic. TY for sharing. I think this is your next NF ms, too.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. And thanks for promoting it on FB. I hope I can get a good idea/angle for the Lunar New Year.

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  3. Happy Lunar New Year, Tina. Thanks for the wonderful reminder to search for the interesting ways others celebrate a new year and the holidays that are important to cultures around our world.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I hope you find great ideas!

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  4. Happy New Year! Great post; thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

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  5. Appreciations for this intriguing blog, Tina. I agree with Kathy that a book on th Korean Lunar New Years suits you well. I found this site, with the url below, which is by a mother who shares your enthusiasm for the holiday -

    https://bringinguptheparks.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/10-ways-seollal-is-not-a-chinese-new-year/

    What fun - the idea of the Irish holiday mentioned for women.
    I married into a Sicilian family & on the Monday after Easter, that's the day they believe that babies/toddlers will grow tall if they are held up to the sky. Maybe there is a poem/story there! And also for that culture several books have been written about the Italian "witch" Steffa Banana (likely wrong spelling.) But this post is making me also think about a unique celebration in Florida. Will not say a lot about it, as I could have a lock on it as a poem or a manuscript.... From across the ocean, Happy Lunar New Year 2017, on the 28th :)

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    1. spell wrecker changed the wrong spelling i had, even more :)

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    2. Very interesting, Jan. You should try a story about that! And thanks for that link. I bookmarked it.

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  6. Happy Lunar New Year, Tina! Always enjoy learning something new about a culture. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Jarm! Have a great writing week.

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