Updated usually on Mondays and/or Thursdays!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monkeying Around the Lunar New Year

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! If you're confused about why there is Chinese New Year, Korean New Year, and so on, just know that they are all pretty much the same thing. To be more general, it's called Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is one the most important celebrations of the year in East Asian culture. It is celebrated by many East Asian countries besides China and Korea. To creatively as well as culturally ring in the year of the monkey, we decided to cover a few of the most important symbols of East Asian culture.

This first picture is a cross-cultural representation of China and Korea. The lantern is the heart of the Chinese New Year celebration as it symbolizes the wish for a bright future. It is quite literally a light for hope. Both China and Korea specifically celebrate their own Lantern Festivals at different times of the year. People release lanterns into the sky as a representation of letting go of their old selves and hoping for good fortune. Just picture that lantern scene from Tangled--it's beautiful.

Besides the lantern, I am also wearing a hanbok, which is worn for Lunar New Year celebrations in Korea. If you haven't read our hanbok post from last year, then click this link right below!!!


I don't know about you, but I am a flower fanatic. Cherry Blossoms are easily one of my favorites. I didn't realize, but certain kinds of Cherry Blossoms produce actual cherries! Cherry Blossoms are the national flower of Japan. It is fundamentally a symbol of love, joy, and the fragility of life. Japan's samurai culture admired cherry blossoms due to their short lives, and used them as a representation of blood drops. The blooming period of cherry blossoms are very short, so they serve as a visual reminder of how precious and precarious life is. Just as the life of a flower, life is short and should thus be lived to the fullest. A National Cherry Blossoms Festival has been annually celebrated for 80 years in Washington D.C. to commemorate the gift of Japanese cherry trees in 1912 in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the US and Japan. Although...several trees were chopped down after Pearl Harbor for obvious reasons. Today, there are Cherry Blossom Festivals all over the country. There are a few in SoCal, so check them out if you can!

The final object we wanted to focus on was a sword. A sword represents not only power but also honor and wisdom. Buddhists recognize the sword as a metaphor of cutting through ignorance to reach the truth of all things.

This picture honestly reminds of Mulan. Diana and I share our love for Mulan because she defies the archetype of a warrior always having to be a male. I've read feminist articles arguing that Mulan is not a feminist because she has to dress as a boy for selfhood, but I think they're completely missing the bigger picture. Mulan goes to war because she wants to save her father's life and wants to bring her family honor. She wants to find her purpose in life, and she wants to do something meaningful. Mulan is physically as well as mentally strong throughout the entire movie, and I admire that.

Thanks for reading and Happy Happy New Year!!!

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