What is Lunar New Year, and when does it begin?

The Year of the Rabbit upon us.

The Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, with many Asian communities celebrating the appearance of spring and the start of a brand new 12 months on the lunar calendar.

It’s crucial vacation in China, which is why the Chinese authorities is anticipating greater than 2.1 billion journeys to be embarked upon now that the nation has lifted its stringent pandemic-era restrictions on journey and motion.

The new-year celebrations historically embody parades, fireworks and households gathering to take pleasure in elaborate dinners and scrumptious pastries.

Don’t miss: Chinese have been snapping up flights overseas as Beijing places zero-COVID restrictions within the rearview mirror and Chinese New Year nears

For these unfamiliar with the vacation, the next is what it’s essential know in regards to the Lunar New Year.

What is the Lunar New Year?

The Lunar New Year is the beginning of the lunar calendar, also called the lunisolar calendar, which is based mostly on the cycles of the moon. It’s additionally generally often called the Spring Festival in China, the National Museum of Asian Art explains, which is noticed with a 15-day celebration marked by many traditions

When is the Lunar New Year?

The 2023 Lunar New Year begins on Sunday, Jan. 22. Unlike the one- or two-day new-year celebrations for the Gregorian calendar used within the U.S., the Lunar New Year sometimes options 15 days of festivities.

And as a result of the date is based mostly on moon cycles, the Lunar New Year falls on totally different dates every year. But the vacation often falls someday between late January and mid-February.

Who celebrates Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is celebrated in international locations together with however not restricted to China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, in addition to international locations with important Chinese populations.

How do folks have a good time the Lunar New Year?

Celebratory customs fluctuate based mostly on nation and tradition however might embody feasts and deep cleansing of the dwelling areas to purge destructive religious power, in addition to different rituals and festivals geared toward a welcoming of well being, wealth and success within the new 12 months. And as a result of the colours crimson and gold symbolize success in lots of Asian cultures, folks put on crimson and enhance their properties with crimson paper cuttings. Gifts of cash are sometimes given in ornate crimson envelopes.

Popular meals related to the vacation embody a candy rice known as nian gao, sesame balls, almond cookies and candied lotus seeds.

Gift packing containers of conventional new-year pastries displayed at a bakery in Beijing.


Certain days are marked with particular occasions. For instance, the fifth day of the Lunar New Year is designated because the start date of the Chinese god of wealth. So some folks make dumplings that resemble the form of Chinese gold ingots (an historic type of cash). Revelers shoot numerous fireworks and ignite firecrackers that day. And the fifteenth and remaining day of the vacation brings the Lantern Festival, when youngsters carry lanterns round their neighborhoods at evening to mark the tip of the celebration.

Is Lunar New Year a vacation within the U.S.?

The Lunar New Year is not a federal vacation within the U.S., however it is a public vacation in lots of different international locations.

In some massive U.S. cities, together with New York and Philadelphia, nevertheless, it is a college vacation. It will even be an official statewide vacation this 12 months in California, which is the state with the most important Asian-American inhabitants within the nation.

Cat or rabbit?

Many cultures and international locations assign an animal to the brand new 12 months based mostly on a 12-year zodiac cycle, in response to History.com. China, for instance, will welcome 2023 because the Year of the Rabbit, whereas Vietnam is poised to have a good time the Year of the Cat, and the Malay zodiac is welcoming the Year of the Mousedeer.

It must also be famous, after all, that many Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders don’t comply with the Chinese or lunar zodiac.

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