Last weekend I experienced being in the right place at the right time. There’s no shortage of excitement and cultural history living in a big city, so it’s easy to stumble upon something new. You just have to be aware. And that means putting down your mobile devices to be present and enjoy your surroundings.
What I happened upon was an important part of the Chinese New Year festivities. Having just finished lunch (Pho) and shopping at the Vietnamese market, I was greeted with a display of fireworks and dancing dragons. You can check out this Vine video I made of the event!
Warding off evil spirits vine.co/v/brVdlgamXQP
— Chloe Rada (@crada) February 17, 2013
While the Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, it is celebrated in other countries like Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Celebrations start on first day of the Lunar New Year and last 15 days making it the longest festival in the Chinese calendar and the biggest time for family reunions. In Vietnam, it’s called Tết Nguyên Đán.
I learned that day that fireworks help ward off evil spirts, while dancing dragons bring good fortune throughout the year. It’s experiences like this that create community, and just by being present I got to share in this tradition with a group of strangers, spreading hope for a new beginning.
This proves how culture is all around us. It’s just a matter of finding it. One of greatest joys I have in my role with Sodexo is the exposure to the different types of culture that thrive among our employees. Perhaps if I wasn’t afforded our heritage month celebrations and the opportunity to share them with you, I may have missed out on learning how cultural experiences create community too.
Tell us about the culture around you? How does it influence you?