Vegan Lunar New Year Traditions

lucky fruit platterYesterday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the year of the snake. This holiday is celebrated by the Aulacese (Vietnamese), Korean and Chinese.

My family celebrated with essential dishes such as longevity noodles  and a lucky fruit platter.

Our fruit platter had dried coconut pieces, papaya, and mangoes. All that was missing was custard apples (mãng cầu). In Aulacese, the names of these fruits create a pun, “Cầu Dừa Đủ Xoài (Cầu Vừa Đủ Xài).” This phrase means “[Let’s] pray for just enough [resources/money/food, etc.] to use”–a wise wish for the new year.

Other traditions of the holiday include your typical red envelopes, games and (you may be surprised to hear this)–meatless meals!

Below is an excerpt from a post I wrote last year about the cultural significance of plant-based Lunar New Year celebrations. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.red envelopes and fruit

 In Âu Lạc, the majority of people abstain from meat on the first day of the lunar new year, especially if they are Buddhist or follow the Cao Đài faith. They do this to symbolically start the new year in a nonviolent state, with hopes to practice the plant-based lifestyle more often during the upcoming year. Beginning the new year with this peaceful practice is also said to bring good luck and fortune.

It all makes sense when we consider the negative energies that are manifested when animals are slaughtered. Surely their feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and suffering would affect our being if we consume them. It may sound strange, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has considered these things.

People from Âu Lạc believe that the new year ought to be a celebration of peace, love and life. I hope that this year, more resolutions will be made to make lasting efforts to celebrate these things daily. Applying that attitude everyday of the year would maximize the peace in our lives, as well as our health.

Originally published on The Shorthorn, UT Arlington’s student news website, on January 23, 2012. 

What did you do this weekend? Whether or not you celebrate the Lunar New Year, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness!

Come back soon for a post about Valentine’s Day tips for vegans!

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