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East Asians such as Chinese, Japanese, Koreans came to America as low skilled, low wage laborers but they assimilated into mainstream American society and still maintained their unique culture, customs and identity.
Chinese New Year is the most important cultural holiday for the Chinese American. It is the time for house cleaning, settling debts, renewing family ties and old friendships and giving out gifts of money in red packets (Laisee) to children.
For adults the Chinese New Year gifts range from Lanterns, Chop Sticks, Cane Umbrellas, T Shirts, Dragon - heads, Fans, Bamboo Hates etc. Usually Chinese prefer practical useful gifts so hi-tech gadgets such as digital planners, ipods, laptops, cameras etc.
Wine and Chinese Calligraphy are appreciated as gifts. Flowers and blooming plants are also good gift ideas.
Other festivities of the Chinese culture include Lantern Festival, Moon Festival, and Dragon-boat Festival among others.
Japanese Americans celebrate New Years Day shgatsu following the culture of the Meiji era. On this occasion houses are cleaned and new clothes are worn after bath and visit temples and shrines, and serve special food. People visit their friends, families and neighbors. Children are given gifts of money in small decorated envelopes.
Traditional gifts for the New Year's in Japan include assortments of boxed and beautifully wrapped food, especially coffee, salad oil, and soy sauce. Hokkaido snow crabs, lobsters, choice cuts of beef, and even elaborate ice cream sets are also gifted.
Japanese Americans also celebrate Obon, to honor the dead and Tanabata, a Japanese star festival.
Korean Americans celebrate the harvest festival, formally called Chusok. Korean Americans usher in the New Year with three day celebrations call "Sol". The festivities include traditional feasts, kite flying and board games. Korean Americans observe Buddha's birthday and Korean Memorial Day too. Beautifully wrapped good quality wines and chocolates are the norm during Chusok and New Year.
For Vietnamese Americans Tet, which marks both the beginning of the lunar New Year and spring is an important holiday. Vietnamese Americans also celebrate the traditional holiday of Trung Nguyen, or "Wandering Souls Day," and Trung Thu, or the "Mid-Autumn Festival".
Thai Americans celebrate Chinese New Year, Magha Puja, Chakri Day and Songkran the Thai New year when caged birds and fish are set free and water is thrown by everyone on everyone else. Visakha Puja is the holiest of Buddhist days, celebrating Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death.
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