Being "grounded" by pandemic travel restrictions changed — and is still changing — where and how I find inspiration for new pieces and collections. If you've been a part of the Jada Jo community for a little while now, you've likely noticed the way Asian cultures inspired many of our pieces. As we approach the Lunar New Year, I wanted to take some time to talk about why I'm so moved to inspiration by and appreciative of Asian culture and my visits to various Asian countries.
The history of the Lunar New Year
You may be more familiar with the phrase Chinese New Year or even Spring Festival for the Lunar New Year celebration. Many of the Asian immigrants in the United States are Chinese, so the name for the Lunar New Year celebrations morphed into Chinese New Year. To add another layer to the nomenclature for the celebration, in 1949 Mao Zdong's Communist Party took power in China and focused on tamping down anything "old." The "new year" celebrations became Spring Festival, and in mainland China, most people still refer to it as such.
Observing the Lunar New Year
If you pay attention to the Lunar New Year, you may notice it doesn't always fall on the exact same days. Americans are accustomed to the solar year, which is marked by the 365 days it takes the Earth to orbit the sun. Many east Asian nations use a lunisolar calendar, which marks 12 complete lunar cycles or approximately 354 days.
The 12 lunar cycles are marked by zodiac signs, and each New Year brings the advent of a different sign. 2021 will be the Year of the Ox. The Ox, the second animal of the Chinese zodiac, symbolizes hard work, positivity, and honesty — a collection of traits that makes me feel hopeful about the upcoming year.
Lunar New Year: A positive celebration
It's impossible not to appreciate Lunar New Year when you look at the theme of the holiday: fortune, happiness, and health. Focusing on the positive as you begin the new year feels proactive and hopeful. A fun tradition during the 15-day celebration includes gifting red envelopes of money to ensure financial good fortune in the upcoming year.
Superstition or tradition? You decide!
Learning about Lunar New Year means diving into the traditions that shape the two-week celebration. The traditions often surround the double meaning or close meanings of different Chinese characters. Some might call them superstitions, but I enjoy the sentiment behind many of them, as they call to mind manifesting what you desire in the upcoming year. Three of my favorite Lunar New Year traditions include:
A few ways to celebrate on a small scale this year
Like so many celebrations, tradition Lunar New Year celebration might not happen as planned in your community. Take the name to celebrate quietly by reaching out to friends and family you love. You can drop off red envelopes without breaking social distancing protocols or light sparklers outside in lieu of a larger fireworks display.
Of course, you can always wear red, including the red bamboo coral necklace inspired by my last (but not final!) trip to Bali. I stayed in a village composed solely of bamboo structures, and I was ecstatic to create the Bambuh Red Coral Necklace. Bamboo coral relieves stress and the unique sterling silver tag comes directly from Cheluk, Bali.
Why Asian culture inspires so many Jada Jo Jewelry pieces
Many of my most memorable travel stories come from my journeys to Asian destinations, like Bali, Tibet, and Nepal. Some of what draws me to Asian culture is the focus on personal growth and balance. I find a sense of peace in believing my actions can directly affect my state of mind, health, and happiness. Becoming more in tune with what affects my spiritual energy always increases for me while traveling.
I can't help but bring that home with me, both in the materials I find in marketplaces and in the inspiration from which I draw, long after I've returned home. Celebrating the Lunar New Year gives me the chance to recenter after some of the chaos of the past year and to look forward to the future, with health, happiness, and good fortune on the horizon.
Which holidays offer you a chance to reset your intentions?