The biggest holiday of the year for many Asian cultures is here: Lunar New Year. In China, everyone goes home to their families; kids get weeks off of school; and some American businesses even grind to a halt.
Traditionally, people begin preparing before the holiday starts. They pay off their debts, pass out red envelopes, clean their homes and more. But you don't have to have an Asian family to celebrate Lunar New Year. The celebration lasts for 15 days, and there are plenty of fun ways for anyone to join in.
"The lion dance is a way to scare off spirits or bad spirits or any bad mojo that is around from the previous year," said Connie Vuong, executive director of L.A.'s Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
"Xin nián" means "new year," while "kuài lè" means happiness or joy.
Mo Yan’s works are “very gritty,” said Christopher Magriney, a Chinese instructor at USC. “He’s sort of poking fun at the ridiculousness of [a] society where everything is controlled.”
Need help choosing a title? Try "Life and Death are Wearing Me Out."
Other options: Take throwback to high school and re-read (or actually read) "The Joy Luck Club."
Or for a fun beach novel, "Crazy Rich Asians" is for you. No judgment here.
If you're an artsy person – and even if you're not – consider taking a few classes in Chinese calligraphy or watercolor painting. Soon you could be producing beautiful works of art to gift to friends or hang in the living room.
Take a break from Netflix and dive into "Mang Jing," which translates to "Blind Shaft" and is banned in China. The 2003 film is a brutal but "savagely funny" story about coal mine workers and corruption in rural, contemporary China.
Because it's never too early to start planning your next vacation.
Planning to check any of these off your to-do list? Tweet at me @anniezyu.