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Lunar New Year

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Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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About Lunar New Year

We can understand the lunar New Year as a spring festival celebrated in different parts of Asia such as Korea, Vietnam, China, etc. Needless to say, the lunar New Year meaning is extracted from its relationship with the moon and the moon's cycles. The festival begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later. As the lunar calendar depends on the moon's cycles, the festival dates vary each year slightly. But, primarily as per western calendars, the celebration begins somewhere between January 21st and February 20th. Now that we have touched upon the Lunar New Year meaning let us dive into its many nitty-gritty.


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Happy Lunar New Year Celebrations – Rituals and Other Aspects

In most cultures, just ten days before the Lunar New Year, houses are cleaned to remove any bad luck or omen that might be lingering inside. The process is termed as 'sweeping of grounds.' Furthermore, on the Lunar New Year day, families and friends present gifts to each other, and there are performances of dance and music. Fireworks are also an integral part of a happy lunar New Year. One crucial aspect that embodies a happy lunar new year is the lantern festival. It has gained prominence even in popular culture. The lantern festival is celebrated on the concluding day of the Lunar New Year. The night of the lantern festival looks like a sunlit sky, with the lanterns emanating exquisite radiance all around. People conclude the celebrations by consuming traditional food.


History of the Lunar New Year

We can trace the history of the lunar New Year celebration to thousands of years ago. The festival is premised on a legend called the Legend of Nian. As per beliefs, Nian was a hideous beast that feasted on human flesh on every New Year's Day. But, Nian's weakness was that he was afraid of the color red, loud noises, red paper decorations, and fire. As such, people began to light lanterns, blow crackers, and decorate their houses with red-hued decors during the Lunar New Year to frighten the ferocious beast.


When is Lunar New Year?

The answer to the question of Lunar New Year's inception date is quite tricky as it differs from culture to culture.

  • In the Jewish religious calendar, the Lunar New Year begins on the first month of Tishri that usually falls between September 6th and October 5th.

  • The Muslim calendar has 354 days, and the New Year begins with the month of Muharram.

  • Thirdly, the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated for one whole month, either late January or early February.

  • The Tibetans celebrate the Lunar New Year in February, whereas the Thai celebrate the festival during March or April.

  • In South India, the Lunar New Year is celebrated at the winter solstice. Lastly, the Japanese celebrate their New Year festival from 1st to January 3rd.


Features of the Lunar New Year

  • The Lunar New Year is the most important Chinese holiday and also the longest.

  • The Lunar Festival is believed to have originated during the rule of the Shang Dynasty, wherein people adopted the habit of honouring Gods at the end of each year.

  • The Lunar New Year is also related to the Lunar Zodiac that comprises twelve animals. The animals were chosen based on their close relations to people from ancient China.

  • Six of the twelve animals of the lunar zodiac are domesticated and include ox, goat, rooster, dog, pig, and horse. The remaining six cannot be tamed, including the tiger, rat, dragon, monkey, snake, and rabbit. 2021 is deemed the zodiac animal - Ox's year, and 2022 will be the year of the Tiger.

In conclusion, we can say that the lunar New Year greetings are also special. People greet one another by asking whether they consumed the special soup or not. It is an extraordinary day for the Chinese people, and its significance is paramount among other Asian cultures such as the Koreans, Japanese, and so forth. The rituals of the festival are all related to familial love, bonding, and togetherness.


FAQs on Lunar New Year

Q1. Can you explain how the lunar New Year is celebrated in India?

Ans. The most typical embodiments of lunar New Year celebrations in India include Diwali and Guni Padwa, also known as Ugadi or Puthandu.

Q2. What is the Chinese lunisolar calendar?

Ans. The Chinese calendar is alternately termed the lunisolar calendar as it is premised on accurate astronomical observations of the sun's longitude and the moon's phases. The calendar strives to coincide with the tropical year and also shares few commonalities with the Jewish calendar. The Chinese lunar calendar has 12 months, and a leap year comprises 13 months. The number of days ranges from 354 to 355, and in a leap year, the number of days varies from 383 to 385 days. In China, the Gregorian calendar is utilized for civil purposes nowadays, but the relevance of the Chinese calendar is not yet lost. The Chinese lunisolar calendar is used to determine festival dates like the Lunar New Year, explore auspicious dates like wedding dates, and so forth.

Q3. What are the customs associated with the lunar New Year by the Chinese?

Ans. The Chinese population celebrates the lunar New Year with great pomp and show. The first thing they do is consume foods that have figurative or symbolic significance. Korean families eat rice cakes and a soup called 'tteokguk' to 'become a year older.' The soup is so vital that asking someone whether they have consumed it or not is a way to greet people during the festival. Fish and dumplings are essential for Chinese households. Another critical custom involves showing respect to the elders. Reverence is usually offered by bowing in front of elders, burning incense sticks, and likewise. Likewise, gifting and offering money as a token of love are integral elements of the Chinese New Year. Other customs associated with the Chinese lunar New Year include setting off fireworks, cleaning and decorating the house, etc.