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Happy Lunar New Year!

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 | 1:38 pm

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Minh Lee lights incense and offers a prayer to Buddha to celebrate the Lunar New Year. (Photo Adrian Nieoczym)

By Adrian Nieoczym

Today is a significant day and not just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Today is also the Lunar New Year.

While the Lunar New Year is commonly thought of in this part of the world as Chinese New Year, that label is a misnomer, as it also a day celebrated by a whole host of cultures besides Chinese, including Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian.

“Today is the most important day of the year,” said Mihn Lee, who helped organize this year’s New Year’s celebration at the Yitung Buddhist Temple on Lawrence Ave.

Because the lunar calendar does not match up with the Western world’s Gregorian calendar that most of us are familiar with, Lunar New Year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February.

It is an extremely important day. “As a tradition in our culture, if you have to go [to the temple] just one day, this is the day you go. Basically you go and you light incense and you pray for the Buddha,” he said. “People believe if they do that then the whole year will be blessed with good luck.”

Awareness of Lunar New Year has grown so big over the years that it’s no longer just Buddhists or people who belong to Asian cultures who celebrate it.

While she is not a Buddhist, Sherilyn William learned about Buddhism during her travels to Japan, a trip she described as “a spiritual awakening.” William showed up at the Yitung Temple this afternoon so she could offer a prayer and light some incense.

“I honour it because it’s what awakened me,” she said. “It is preparing me for the year ahead. It’s to honour myself, honour all faiths, honour all spiritualities.”

William also noted that according to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the tiger. “And I was born in year of the tiger,” she added. “They’re a courageous spirit.”

The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animal signs and people born in the year of a specific animal are thought to have traits associated with it.

If you were born in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010, then you were born in year of the tiger.

Tiger people are thought to be sensitive and capable of deep thinking and great sympathy. However, they are also thought to be quite short-tempered and have problems making up their minds, which can lead to poor, hasty decisions.

While tiger people are seen as courageous and powerful, they are also often suspicious of others. Tigers are most compatible with horse people, dragon people and dog people.

adrian@kelowna.com

250-575-3517

Happy Lunar New Year!1.051

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2 Responses to “Happy Lunar New Year!”

  1. J J says:
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    This is Chinese New Year, it has nothing to do with korean, viet, mongols whom infact don’t even celebrate this event.

  2. Jess says:
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    I have been living in Vietnam for the last 5 years, and yes, they do celebrate Chinese New Year, although there it is called Lunar New Year. It’s a week long celebration and it is an incredible event!

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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