走春 (zou3 chun) – to go out during Lunar New Year to gather luck
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This year, Taiwanese American Professionals – New York Chapter (TAP-NY) reached out to us for a collaboration to bring Taiwan Lunar New Year traditions to their members. We decided to create a small postcard, which shows a few locations to visit in Taipei during the new year, for their members.
Red envelopes. Red spring couplets. Red is all you see at DiHua Street. Located in the heart of of the historic Dadaocheng (大稻埕), this is THE place to get your traditional New Year snacks and other goodies! The street itself is very old; one could tell through its old-style Qing dynasty and Japanese colonial architecture. The rare old-time Taipei atmosphere permeates the area, noticeable by all as they stroll down the street. When the New Year is not around, there are quaint teahouses and other traditional stores that one could window shop.
Day two of Lunar New Year, it is tradition to visit your mother’s maiden house (娘家). In the old days, after being married out, wives don’t get to see their home as much so this day is a day for them to visit home again. Much of this day is like the first day of celebrations, more food, more sitting around catching up and of course, more red envelopes for the kids.
The reason why we labeled this as grandma’s house is to give it a more personal taste. Gathering of the family is many times centered around spending time with the older generation (but for the kids it seems to be food and red envelopes).
Lunar New Year is a traditional holiday with Buddhist and Taoist roots. Visiting temples is a large custom during Lunar New Year. One of the biggest temples in Taipei City, Long Shan Temple was built in 1738 dedicated to Buddhist and Taoist gods. During the New Year, as the bells toil and the lantern-lighting ceremonies are being conducted, worshippers flock to the temple to pray for a good and prosperous year. The history of the temple is quite remarkable; it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Some key moments of history occurred at this temple: it was bombed by the United States during World War II while years later in 1986 the “Green Ribbon Campaign”, a major protest against martial law, was held here where 500 people stood against 1500 policemen.
Where do you think is a must go in Taiwan for Lunar New Year?