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Dozens of kids celebrate Lunar New Year with passports, red lanterns, tasty treats

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit, they said, is a symbol of elegance, kindness, and responsibility.
Lunar New Year pic 2.jpg
Posted at 12:06 AM, Jan 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-22 09:44:18-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Saturday morning, Erin Keener and the team at GRPL’s Yankee Clipper branch on Leonard Street only made 50 Lunar New Year passports for the kids to enjoy for the day’s festivities.

By noon, they ran out, she said. So, the team was making dozens more.

“It looks like the kids are having fun,” Keener said with a smile. “We have a lot of kids here right now, which is not normal for our Saturday. It’s a little bit more than normal.”

Saturday January 21, 2023 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Year of the Rabbit. The library celebrated by making passports for kids that allows them to go from country to country, or from one arts and crafts table to another.

“For Vietnam we have a flower craft because in Vietnam there’s some really important impactful flowers to that country,” Keener said. “And then for Hong Kong, we have a red lantern craft. So, red lanterns are hung in China and Hong Kong during the Lunar New Year.”

They also had funs games at the Korea table, she said.

Bethany Tap was there with her four kids, who she said all had a blast.

“I think it’s really good educationally,” Tap said while holding one of her toddlers. “It’s a culture, not one that we’re a part of, but it’s good to learn about other cultures, a very significant thing for lots of cultures in Asia.”

Soon Young Hong, who’s studying at Calvin University, was there as well with his toddler daughter Euna, who loved the coloring table.

He said his family enjoyed their time.

“I actually followed my wife here. She told me there was a Lunar New Year celebration here at Yankee Library. So I just followed,” Hong said while laughing. “South Korea, where I’m from, they also celebrate the Lunar New Year and I’m just surprised to see how they celebrate this.”

Hong was there with friends whose children were dressed in hanbok, the traditional Korean garb.

They were among the dozens of families who colored pictures, made red lanterns, and had some traditional treats.

And even though the Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries, Hong said that it’s a time that everyone can enjoy.

“I believe that, you know, people who follow the solar calendar and the solar new year or whatever you follow, the Lunar New Year, God is the creator of both the sun and the moon,” Hong said. “So, no matter what calendar you follow I think we all have something to thank God for.”