What is Lunar New Year and how is it celebrated?
A holiday known as the Lunar New Year is observed from the first new moon between mid-January and the end of February for those who are not too familiar.
Traditional holidays are observed in China and possibly other Asian nations as well. The event will take place 15 days later on the first full moon of the lunar calendar. Other names for this festival include Chinese Chunjie, Vietnamese Tet, Korean Solnal, and Tibetan Losar. The phases of the moon provide the basis for the lunar calendar cycles, and as a result, the dates of the holiday shift significantly from year to year. According to Western calendars, the holiday will begin between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. In the “sweeping of the grounds” ritual, approximately ten days before the start of the new lunar year, homes are meticulously cleaned to eradicate any potential sources of misfortune that may still be present inside. Celebrations with one’s family, including religious rites held in honor of one’s ancestors, take place on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day, respectively, according to custom.
Additionally, on the first day of the New Year, family members give one another
a red envelope holding money. Lantern Festival is held on the final day of New Year’s celebrations, and during the holiday season, dances and firework displays are commonplace, culminating in the festival’s namesake event. On this night, colorful lanterns are used to illuminate the homes, and traditional dishes, including yuan xiao (sticky rice balls that signify family unity), Fagan (prosperity cake), and yu sheng (raw fish and vegetable salad), are offered.
The celebration that celebrates the start of the lunar calendar has a history that goes back thousands of years and is shrouded in myth. It is said that on the first day of the new year, a monstrous creature known as Nian would feast on the flesh of humans. Because the beast Nian was afraid of the color red, loud noises, and fire, the doors were decorated with red paper decorations, lanterns were burnt all night, and firecrackers were set to scare the beast away.
What customs surround the Lunar New Year?
Traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year might vary from nation to nation and even from person to person because it is observed by Asian groups all over the world. “For the Chinese, the Lunar New Year is the most widely celebrated holiday of the year as we welcome a new year filled with hopefully good health, happiness, and prosperity,” Ying Yen, executive director of the New York Chinese Cultural Center, tells Woman’s Day.
Ahead of this year’s Lunar New Year celebrations, businesses are doing more than ever to make life easier for Chinese visitors. For instance, convenience store chain Lawson will begin accepting payments through Alipay, the mobile wallet app from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Does Japan celebrate Lunar New Year?
Even though Lunar New Year is not a holiday in Japan, it is observed anyway! For instance, Yokohama’s 15-day Chinese Spring Festival includes the Lion Dance, the Celebration Parade, and the final display of countless lanterns. Find more information here.