My family this morning laid out a feast to on our large glass dining table. Every year, this tradition involves putting small red paper squares atop decadent foods like niangao, sea cucumbers, pork, chicken, tangerines, and much more. Then we'd burn incense and bow three times.
I'm not sure much about the origins of this tradition, so if anyone could enlighten me, please do. Maybe it's a blended tradition of various cultural practices.
Either way, it's at least become a family tradition, even if it's not an accurate cultural tradition. Other things we do include lighting paper on death anniversaries, lighting money in woks indoor next to the window, being weirdly superstitious, and much more.
You know what? It's funny how my family celebrates Lunar New Year instead of the Southeast Asian new year, which nears April 14 when the sun enters the constellation Aries, influenced heavily by the Hindu calendar.
In Burmese culture, that celebration is associated with a raucous and rich water festival. The Lao, Thai, and Cambodians also celebrate this lesser known New Year's day, which I think everyone should learn more about! One day, I'd like the opportunity to celebrate these new years in those respective countries.