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Monks planning to bring in Lunar New Year with a bang

By Jeremy Weldon

The monks and sisters of Magnolia Grove Monastery in north Panola County are planning a week long celebration for the Lunar New Year, and they intend to make some noise.

Sister Boi Nghiem, a leader at the monastery, said the community will celebrate all of next week with different activities, culminating on Sunday, Jan. 26. The Lunar New Year is officially Saturday, Jan. 25.

On that day, Nghiem said, neighbors can expect to hear lots of firecrackers as part of the celebration. “Please share with our local friends that firecrackers will be used during this time so that they will not be mistaken for gunshots,” she wrote in an email to newspaper this week.

Nghiem said the Sunday celebration will begin at 9:45 a.m. and end after lunch, about 1:30 p.m. She has invited anyone wanting to take part in the festivities, or just observe, to join community members for the celebration.

She said some of the highlights will be a dragon dance, games, plant-based foods, and the shooting of fireworks.

Lunar New Year, the same as Chinese New Year for Asian countries other than China, is also known as Spring Festival. According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is on Jan. 1 and lasts until the 15th (the full moon).

Unlike western holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, calculated with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, Lunar New Year can be a range of dates. In 2019, it occurred Feb. 5.

The holiday is the one day each year that boasts the largest number of fireworks discharged worldwide. Tradition says a monster attacked a village on the New Year’s Eve and was fought off by a young boy with firecrackers, hence the shooting of fireworks for good luck each year since.