What is Chinese Lunar New Year?
The New Lunar year is renowned as the Spring festival, Chunjie, or Chinese New Year. This festival is celebrated by the people who belong to the Chinese and close community related to them.
Although the date changes yearly, the celebration is often held between January and February. This year in 2023, the New Lunar Year will start on 22nd January, and the carnival of colorful lanterns and dances will go on for more than a week.
Chinese Lunar New Year All Quick Overview
- Time/Date: 22nd January
- Category: Cultural
- Where It’s Marked? China
- Why It’s Marked? Originally, it was honored as a day to pay respect to home, celestial, and ancestral deities.
History of the Chinese Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is one of the great festivals around the year for the followers of the Lunar calendar. China, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries celebrate this festival to honor their ancestors and heavenly Gods.
The significance of the Chinese New Year is distinct as they honor the Lunar calendar as their dynastic, social, and religious guide.
The celebration of the New Lunar Year can be traced long ago when the Shang Dynasty ruled in the 14th century BC. Like many other significant and beautiful myths and stories embedded in Chinese culture, the New Lunar year also has a legend.
According to the legend, the New Lunar Year's story is about the atrocious monster named Nian. Nian means year. The beast was terrified-looking with a pointed horn and the lion's mane.
But the monster would not show up often over the year as he used to hide at the bottom of the deep sea. And he would come to the town every new years eve to terrorize people.
The predator used to destroy the villages, attack and kill people and animals, and make the people's lives a living hell. He could bring down dozens of men with a single whip of his tail. After he was satisfied with his feast, he would return to the deepest darkest part of the sea once again for a whole year.
People tried to save their lives by hiding in the mountains when new years eve was around the corner. They would pack their things and hike miles to climb up the hills.
After a few years of repeating the same routine on new year’s eve, one time, an old gentleman offered the village people to let him stay at one of the houses for one night. He proposed that he would cast the monster away if they permitted him to remain in the village.
The knowledgeable older man knew that Nian was afraid of a few things. He realized that any object of red color, fire, and loud noises could scare him away. So, there was still a chance to defeat him.
So, he hung blessings lettering in Chinese characters on red cloth and prepared firecrackers and lanterns wrapped in red color. He then lit them up when the Nian was looking for food with an empty stomach across the whole town.
Since then, the Lunar New Year has been celebrated as a symbol of defeating evil and starting a new year with festivals and good wishes.
How to Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year?
The celebration of the Lunar New Year is now not only a festival for the Chinese community anymore. People worldwide celebrate this festival and travel back to their homes, where the day is considered a national holiday for Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can celebrate the upcoming Spring festival.
1. Clean and Decorate
In Vietnam, people start preparing for the new year by cleaning their houses and shops. They consider this a ritual of cleaning the bad luck, bad memories, and wrongdoings throughout the year and preparing for a new beginning.
After cleaning, you can decorate the home with yellow and red flowers, which symbolize good luck and joy. According to Chinese tradition, you can also add red posters with blessings written on them and red knots and lanterns to bring prosperity and good fortune to life.
2. Foods with Family
The Lunar new year comes when the second new moon shines after the long winter solstice, which means the end of the darkest and long winter nights and the beginning of spring. Since the celebration lasts for two to four weeks, it is a great chance to reunite with family and enjoy food altogether.
The Chinese tradition is to have a family dinner at a round table and food with special meaning.
The color and appearance of the food are almost the same every time; they either mean joy, happiness, or wealth. The main dishes are fish, dumplings, fruits, and rice balls.
In many cultures, a coin is hidden inside a dumpling, and the person who finds the coin is considered the luckiest for the year. The dumplings and long noodles often refer to the longevity of life and wealth, whereas the colorful fruits and rice balls signify happiness and joy.
The Koreans, however, start their dinner after they complete the ritual of offering food to their ancestors. After that, they enjoy dinner together with food and snacks wearing traditional dresses.
3. Lucky Red Envelops
After the dinner, the elderly members of the Chinese families give their younger a red envelope. The envelope contains lucky money and blessings, which are embedded in golden ink.
The envelope is a blessing from the married elderly members and means they wish the other person a prosperous and wealthy life ahead.
Countries that Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year
People of China, the Philippines, South and North Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia, and Hong Kong celebrate New Lunar Year. Around 2 billion people join the carnival of lights every year.
It has different names in different countries. For example,
- Sol: Koreans
- Cun Jie: China and Tiwan
- Losar: Tibetans
- Tet Nguyen Dan: Vietnam
- Tsagaan Sar: Mongolians
Interesting Facts about Chinese Lunar New Year
The most interesting fact about the Chinese New Year is that we can list hundreds of points about the tradition and observance of this holiday and will still have more to say.
So, here are a few of them that will blow your mind.
- It is celebrated based on the Lunisolar calendar, named the Xia calendar. The distinct feature of this calendar is that it has lunar months anchored by points in different solar years accordingly.
- 1/4th of the total population of earth celebrates the Chinese New Year worldwide.
- Chunyun, or the travel rush to celebrate the Lunar New year, is the festival's most significant and overwhelming transport stress.
- Twelve different animal zodiac signs also represent the solar years of the Xia calendar. The animals are Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. One zodiac sign also represents their spiritual nature, and the person holds that zodiac sign he is born in the year in.
- The zodiac signs repeat every 12 years after. These signs helped people to keep track of age when they didn't know how to count age.
- People get together with families, settle debts, play games, and give gifts in the new year.
- The United States has been celebrating the Chinese New Year for 150 years in San Francisco.
Unique New Lunar Year Celebration Ideas
The Chinese community celebrates the New Lunar year by decorating their house and having food together. Here is how you can uniquely start the new year.
- You can participate in the festival where the Dragon Dance is displayed. If you want, you can be one of the dragons! But that sure will need much practice.
- Cooking Longevity Noodles is another common yet unique celebration idea. You can cook the noodles for your family and pray for their long life.
- You can find your Chinese zodiac. 2023 is the year of Rabbit or Hare. If you are willing to do something interesting, you can get a tattoo of your spirit animal.
New Lunar Year Quotes
Now it’s time for you to know some quotes that you can use to send your family and friends.
“May you find all the happiness in this year of the rabbit. Happy Chinese New Year.”- Unknown
“Your journey of achieving your dreams may come true in this year of rabbit, and you may have a wonderful time full of love, happiness, and abundance. Happy New Year.”- Unknown
“Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.”- Chinese Proverb
“May this year brings you hopes, happiness, and strength that lasts forever. A delighted Chinese New Year to you.”- unknown
1. How long is the Chinese New Year?
It is a 15-day-long festival. And often, it gets extended to 40 days.
2. What do you bring to Chinese New Year?
As a guest on Chinese New Year, you can bring over tea, new toys, fruits, or alcohol to the host’s house.
3. Do you wear red on Chinese New Year?
Answer: Yes, you can wear red on Chinese New Year, as the color red casts away evil spirits and brings good luck.
Chinese New Year's Day Observances
|2021||Friday||12 February||Chinese New Year's Day|
|2022||Tuesday||01 February||Chinese New Year's Day|
|2023||Sunday||22 January||Chinese New Year's Day|
|2024||Saturday||10 February||Chinese New Year's Day|
|2025||Wednesday||29 January||Chinese New Year's Day|
|2026||Tuesday||17 February||Chinese New Year's Day|
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