By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Early festivities for the Vietnamese and Chinese New Year kicked off in Bricktown.
People gathered at the Bricktown Coca-Cola Center Saturday to meet family and friends for the celebrations. Red firecrackers were lit and a dragon dance was performed.
"The firecrackers are to scare away the dead spirits," Darren Phung explained.
Kids love the red envelope filled with money the most. The gift means hopes of a prosperous new year, which is what the early celebration was all about.
"It's a great day because we're bringing peace to other people and other American people. So we're just giving them part of our culture because they shared theirs with ours," Jerry Lu said.
Learning about new cultures is just as important as celebrating the present and never forgetting the past.
"To remember ancestors and mostly remember the 58,000 American soldiers who died in Vietnam for the freedom of Vietnam," said Vinh Nguyen with the Vietnamese American Community of Oklahoma City.
The Vietnamese and Chinese follow the lunar calendar, which is why their new year begins Monday Jan. 26. This is the start of the Year of the Ox for the Chinese community and the Year of the Water Buffalo for the Vietnamese.
This year is meant to be a year of prosperity through hard work.