The Lunar New Year has been celebrated in Eastern Asia for thousands of years. The holiday starts during the first new moon of the year and ends on the night of the full moon. Also known as Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, festivities last for 15 days. This year, 2022, is the “Year of the Tiger,” the 3rd animal in a 12-year cycle. The holiday starts on February 1 and ends on February 15, 2022. South Korea and Vietnam also embrace the tradition and celebrate the occasion. Some people in modern-day Western civilization also commemorate this occasion.
Lunar New Year Traditions and Customs
The Lunar New Year is a time for families to reunite and celebrate the upcoming spring season. Spring Festival focuses on the future, family, and fortune.
Around ten days before the New Year, people thoroughly clean their houses to remove bad luck. The Chinese call this “sweeping of the grounds,” or getting rid of the old and evil. You make way for the spring and good fortune by cleaning the house.
Red packets are monetary gifts given out to family and friends during the New Year. The bright red envelopes symbolize best wishes and luck for the new year ahead. Red packets started in Chinese culture and are a large part of traditional wishes. Money is given during Spring Festival and other special days.
People celebrate Lunar New Year with festivities that include fireworks displays and dances. China holds the Lantern Festival during the last night of the two-week celebration. Attendees enjoy the beauty of lit decorations, food, and dancing. Lions and dragons are vibrant characters that entertain visitors. The Lantern Festival has been held for approximately 2,000 years.
On top of the Lantern Festival, residents decorate their homes with red and gold tones. Lucky foods are also a large part of Lunar New Year customs. Foods include dumplings in soup and different rice balls, which symbolize family unity. Raw fish salad called Yusheng and Fa Gao (fortune cake) for dessert is eaten for prosperity.
History Behind Spring Festival
The holiday was born from the Chinese legend of Nian, a beast who could wipe out everything. The beast could come down from the mountains at the beginning of each year to attack. Folklore teaches to scare off Nian with the color red, loud noises, and fire. Hence, the reason why Chinese New Year has a lot of red decorations and fireworks.
The Year of the Tiger
The tiger represents strength, bravery, and combatting evils. Each year has a different element of nature. 2022 represents a water tiger, symbolizing strong self-esteem and a sense of learning. Other natural factors include gold, earth, fire, and wood. “The King of all Beasts” is one of 12 animals representing a Chinese Zodiac sign. The Year of the Tiger comes after the Rat and the Ox. Other animals include the Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. You can learn your Zodiac sign by looking at this Travel Guide.
People who follow the Chinese Zodiac practice avoiding unlucky things. They will also embrace lucky items like numbers, colors, gems, flowers, and directions. The Chinese Zodiac has annual horoscopes listed for the year 2022.
Have a blessed and fortunate Lunar New Year!
We will see if we’re closer to spring or winter on February 2.