Decatur celebrates Year of the Pig


Daniel and his younger brother preparing dumplings.

From Feb. 5 through 10, millions of people across the globe will gather with friends and family to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year.

The celebrations for the Chinese New Year result in the world’s largest annual human migration to and within China, according to BBC News. Although DHS students may not be participating in this migration, several are welcoming in the Year of the Pig here in the USA.

Daniel received two red envelopes this year; one from his parents containing $20, and another from a “distant relative in Taiwan” that Daniel has “never met before.” Inside was $100.

Junior Julian Daniel will spend this week following several superstitions that are said to prolong luck that comes with the new year.

“We’re not supposed to do any cutting, cleaning, laundry, bathing or discussion of various taboo subjects in order to avoid having bad luck for the rest of the year,” Daniel said.

People also adorn themselves in red for good luck, light fireworks to scare away bad spirits and, like Daniel, postpone bathing to prevent washing away good fortune. Daniel and his family also distributed “hong bao,” or red envelopes, which are packets from friends and family given to children, containing money. They also welcomed in the new year by having a “massive dinner.”

“My mom, my brother and I all sit around a table, with a bowl of dumpling filling in the middle,” Daniel said. “My mother’s [dumplings] look as if they come from a restaurant, while mine- not so much.”

In addition to preparing over 100 dumplings, Daniel’s family cooked “radish cakes, noodles, pork buns and green onion buns” for their feast.

Junior Eliana Norton and her family also honored the new year by cooking a Chinese meal.

“Since I was adopted, my family does not do anything really traditional,” Norton said. “However, this year, I went to the Chinese New Year festival at the Culture Center of Taipei, where I got to see all of my Chinese friends who I used to dance with, and those who, like me, return to watch the performances and enjoy the environment.”

2019 marks the Year of the Pig, the twelfth zodiac animal. According to and BBC News, the Pig is commonly believed to symbolize wealth, good fortune, optimism and hard work.

However, Norton believes that this year may bring “worse luck and many emotional turbulences” due to school and the stress of college applications.

Honoring the new year makes up for it, though.

“Celebrating the new year in America is definitely different from what it is in China,” she said. “But because [the Culture Center of Taipei] is so ethnically Chinese and Taiwanese, it gives a similar scale of representation, which I like.”

Although the celebrations of the Chinese New Year are exciting, Daniel’s favorite part about the new year is “the feeling of being Chinese.”

“As someone who’s mixed-race, I worry that I don’t do enough to honor my Chinese heritage,” Daniel said. “I enjoy the feeling of being comfortable in my identity.”



Photos courtesy of Julian Daniel