Education, Feature

Flossmoor library hosts village’s celebration of Lunar New Year

Librarian Carly Halberg, reads during story time station books on the Lunar Year being celebrated by many people. (Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle)

The Village of Flossmoor and community members welcomed the Year of the Dragon as the Lunar New Year began on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

Flossmoor Public Library opened its doors Saturday morning so community members could learn, experience and culturally explore facets of the Lunar Calendar. Molly Deugaw, Flossmoor Community Relations Commissioner, spearheaded the event with Flossmoor’s library, which presented tales and traditions of the event from around the world. 

Family members Joel Coty and Vinh Dang-Coty with their son
Joshua Coty at the Lunar Year event at Flossmoor Library.
(Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle)

“People have been so appreciative, I’ve already been told how much this means to someone in the community, so here’s hoping this becomes an annual event,” said Deugaw.  

As a Korean American, Deugaw pointed out that customs are “… different from country to country … in the Korean culture you spend your first day visiting ancestors, worshipping ancestors, whereas someone from China may celebrate the first day spent with their parents, having a big dinner, and so it varies from specific cultures.” 

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The holiday even has different names, Deugaw said. For example, the Lunar Year is called Seoullal in Korea, and in Vietnam, it’s referred to as Tet Nhat. 

Many Asian countries (excluding Japan) celebrate the significance of the Lunar Year with certain customs in their culture. Yet, the Asian community mutually believes in the spirit of renewal, hope and new beginnings for all.

Homewood-Flossmoor sophomore Julian Grisius shows his Mandrin calligraphy at a station during the Flossmoor library Lunar New Year celebration. He is holding a sign that reads “Happy New Year” and wishes prosperity and happiness. (Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle)

By removing bad luck and welcoming all that is good and prosperous, the tradition of spending time with families is believed to lead to a fruitful life of opportunities. 

Flossmoor residents Joel Coty and Vinh Dang-Coty were thrilled to bring their son, Joshua, and celebrate with community members. 

“This is huge, especially in Vietnam. It’s referred to as Tet, a combination of Christmas, the SuperBowl, and the Fourth of July; it is a huge deal,” Joel Coty said. 

“The Lunar Year holiday, for us, means gathering together, celebrating the first four days as the most important, reserving out of respect to visiting parents, elders, mentors specifically,” said Vinh Dang-Coty. “As Buddhists, we go to the temple; seeking fortune and luck for the new year is vital.”  

“The thing for me as an American is the culture in Vietnam is so different. (There) It’s so centered around family, and we’ve escaped that here (in the States),” Joel Coty said, “The cool thing is being able to go to Tet, are the traditions, you’re around people you love, making rice cakes and sharing stories, there’s no agenda everyone wants to be together.” 

Community members had four stations to stop and explore: a the craft station, where participants made a Lunar New Year picture frame to store their pictures, a calligraphy station where participants could learn how to decorate and print their Lunar Year message in Mandarin, a photo  station wrapped with a beautiful red dragon backdrop for photos, leading to a celebratory dragon parade inside the library, and a storytelling station that offered enchanting tales of the Lunar Year tradition.

“I hope events like these can illustrate the unity of other cultures but also to view the Flossmoor library as a beacon of community here,” Librarian Carly Halberg said. “We have a lot of programs that community members have access to, as well as programs to help foster and enlighten other topics, cultures, such as today’s event.” 

Participants were encouraged to wear the color red in celebration of the holiday; the first 50 children who entered wearing red got a chance to receive a special gift.

Deugaw said, “I’m so thankful so many teens from Homewood-Flossmoor High School have volunteered their time and efforts in helping us showcase events like these.” 

H-F sophomore Julian Grisius shared his time this past Saturday at the calligraphy station showcasing his Mandarin print. Being Chinese on his mother’s side, Grisius has an interest in being able to read and write Mandarin. 

“I’ve been studying Mandarin now for three years,” he said. “My mother and her family immigrated when she was a teen from China, so my grandparents only speak Chinese, and so I always wanted to be able to communicate with them.” 

The festivities ended with the traditional dragon dance led by Flossmoor community kids, cheering, clapping, and wishing all a happy, joyous Lunar Year. 

For more inquiries on upcoming programs and events hosted by Flossmoor’s Library, visit the website

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