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CHICAGO (CBS) — Happy New Year!
Yes, it’s mid-February, but in several Asian countries where they follow the cycles of the moon, Friday is the Lunar New Year.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song explains, some of those traditions are being celebrated right here in Chicago.
“Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!”
That means, “receive good fortune and blessings for the new year” in Korean. Koreans say it as they bow to their elders, oftentimes wearing a traditional Korean dress called a hanbok.
“To show them respect. Then we also want to share the special greetings for the new year,” said Irene Sohn, executive director of Hanul Family Alliance, a non-profit community service agency for Korean immigrants.
In exchange, you receive an envelope with money inside.
Koreans also eat a special soup called dduk guk on the Lunar New Year. It’s made from rice cakes, dumplings, dried salted seaweed, beef, eggs, and green onions.
“Grain of rices represent longevity,” Sohn said.
At Hanul Family Alliance, in Albany Park, chef are cook this traditional soup for the Lunar New Year.
Depaul University professor Li Jin said an estimated 400 million Chinese travel to see family during the Lunar New Year, making it the world’s largest human migration.
“This year is the year of the dog,” she said. “Person who is born in a year of dog are more vulnerable to evil spirits.”
Superstitious or not, there is a way to protect yourself from the mythological monster: wear red.
“Villagers found out this monster actually is afraid of loud sound and red color,” the professor said.
In Chicago’s Chinatown, there’s a lot of red during the annual new year parade. During this celebration, they feast with their families.
If you are fortunate enough, you’ll get a red envelope filled with money, but only after you wish them a happy new year.