Helio Liu attaches a wish to The Wishing Tree in celebration of Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Helio Liu attaches a wish to The Wishing Tree in celebration of Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Happy Lunar New Year! 2021 is the Year of the Ox

Despite the pandemic, people find ways to celebrate with food, family, gifts and prayer.

EVERETT — Lions and dragons won’t dance in the parking lot this Lunar New Year at Evergreen Asian Market.

But the Year of the Ox holds a better fortune than last year, said Denh Sin, owner of the grocery at 7815 Evergreen Way.

“It’s a lucky year,” she said.

The unfortunate aspect is the pandemic.

“This year we cannot have a party for joining together,” Sin said. The festive costumed dance outside the market was canceled.

But home and virtual gatherings will carry on during the 15-day cultural celebration that started Friday.

People stocked up on red decorations, bamboo, candy and lucky money envelopes in a special holiday section at the store.

“We’ve sold a lot,” Sin said. “It’s a busy time.”

Shoppers lined up at the deli counter with hanging roasted ducks. Chicken, barbecued pork and seafood sales were brisk.

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The start of the new year is tied to the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon, with a cycle of 12 animals.

The Ox occupies the second position in the Chinese zodiac, after the Rat and before the Tiger. Others are the Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Your animal is based on birth year. You are an Ox if born in 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or 2021.

Ox-year people are known for diligence, dependability, strength and determination.

Famous Oxen include Rosa Parks (1913), Barack Obama (1961), Vincent Van Gogh (1853), Walt Disney (1901), George Clooney (1961), Bruno Mars (1985), Kylie Jenner (1997) and the Suleman octuplets — six boys and two girls, born in 2009 to the California single mom who became known as “Octomom.”

Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood invited the public for large Lunar New Year celebrations in previous years. This year, the Buddhist temple will limit the number of people and require masks.

The temple, at 1705 Filbert Road, will hold a Full Moon ceremony from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 28.

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“The rest of the year is undetermined at the moment and we will have to see how this pandemic pans out before scheduling more ceremony dates,” said Minh Thanh, a monk at Dia Tang Temple.

The property has elaborate shrines and hundreds of statues. Writings are in Chinese, Vietnamese and English.

Many Asian restaurants, bakeries and stores have Lunar New Year specials.

At Denh Sin’s Evergreen Asian Market, lucky money envelopes with flowers, koi fish and cute cats are only 99 cents for a packet of six. The tradition is to put crisp bills inside for good luck and fortune.

“When we are young, the parents give it to us,” she said. “After we marry, we give it to the parents.”

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

People gathered to offer prayers and wishes for Lunar New Year at Dia Tang Temple in Lynnwood on Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Greg Kremer stopped by the market to get envelopes for workers at his favorite Chinese restaurant.

“I got some gold dollar coins at the bank. I asked for the bright ones,” he said.

The glossy envelopes are perfect as Valentine’s Day cards.

“I might as well get one for my wife, too,” Kremer said.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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