Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is a vibrant and culturally significant celebration observed by millions of people around the world. It is a celebration that lasts two weeks, from the first new moon of the lunar calendar until the first full moon of the lunar calendar. Eastern astrology welcomes 2024 as the Year of the Dragon, a mythical zodiac creature symbolizing strength, power, wisdom, nobility, good fortune, and success.
Understanding the customs and traditions associated with Lunar New Year can enhance your experience and allow you to fully embrace the rich cultural heritage that accompanies this auspicious occasion.
What To Do for Lunar New Year
Family Reunions: Lunar New Year is a time for families to come together. It is common for people to travel long distances to reunite with their loved ones. The emphasis on family underscores the importance of unity and togetherness during this festive period.
Decorate Your Home: Red is the predominant color during Lunar New Year, symbolizing good luck and prosperity. Decorating your home with red lanterns, couplets, and other traditional items can help usher in positive energy for the coming year.
Participate in Traditional Activities: Joining in traditional activities such as dragon and lion dances, fireworks, and temple fairs is a great way to immerse yourself in the spirit of Lunar New Year. These activities are not only entertaining but also hold deep cultural significance.
What Not To Do for Lunar New Year
Avoid Cleaning on New Year’s Day: Sweeping or cleaning your home on New Year’s Day is considered bad luck, as it is believed to sweep away good fortune. To ensure a prosperous year, it’s advisable to do your cleaning before the Lunar New Year begins.
Refrain from Negative Words: Using negative language or discussing unpleasant topics is discouraged during Lunar New Year. The focus is on positivity, good fortune, and joy, so try to keep conversations light-hearted and cheerful.
Don’t Break Anything: Accidents and breakages are associated with bad luck during this time. Be extra cautious to avoid any mishaps that could potentially bring misfortune.
What to Wear for Lunar New Year
Dress in Red: Wearing red clothing during Lunar New Year is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. Incorporating this auspicious color into your attire, even if it’s just a small accessory, is a common practice. Shop our classic pure red nontoxic nail polish!
Avoid Wearing Black or White: Black and white are associated with mourning in many Asian cultures, so it’s best to avoid these colors during the festive season.
Traditional Attire: Embrace the cultural richness by donning traditional clothing, such as the Chinese qipao or the Korean hanbok, to celebrate the occasion in style.
What to Eat & Drink for Lunar New Year
Dumplings: Dumplings are a symbol of wealth and prosperity due to their resemblance to ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots. Including dumplings in your Lunar New Year feast is considered propitious.
Fish: Fish, especially whole fish, symbolizes abundance and surplus. It is customary to serve fish as part of the New Year’s Eve dinner to ensure a surplus of good luck in the coming year.
Nian Gao (Sticky Rice Cake): Nian Gao is a sweet, sticky rice cake believed to bring growth, progress, and the promise of a better year ahead.
What to Give as Gifts for Lunar New Year
Red Packets (Hongbao): The tradition of giving red packets, often containing money, symbolizes good luck and prosperity. It is customary to give these packets to children, unmarried adults, and even employees during the Lunar New Year.
Orange and Other Citrus: Oranges, kumquats, tangerines and pomelos are common Chinese New Year food gifts. The Chinese words for orange and tangerine closely resemble the words for luck and wealth.
Traditional Treats: Consider gifting traditional Lunar New Year treats such as melon seeds, dried fruits, or festive pastries. These items are not only delicious but also carry cultural significance.
The 12 Chinese Zodiac signs in order are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. These are associated with distinct personality traits, characteristics, and even fortunes. Each zodiac sign is believed to influence an individual’s destiny, shaping their strengths, weaknesses, and overall life path.
Those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be intelligent, resourceful, and adaptable. They are known for their quick wit and ability to thrive in various environments. Rats are often associated with prosperity and wealth.
People born in the Year of the Ox are known for their diligence, reliability, and strong work ethic. They are considered to be patient and methodical, making them excellent team players and reliable friends. The Ox is also a symbol of diligence and persistence.
Tigers are known for their courage, independence, and charisma. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are believed to be natural leaders with a strong sense of justice. Their energetic and bold nature is associated with good fortune and protection against evil spirits.
Rabbits are considered gentle, elegant, and compassionate. Individuals born in the Year of the Rabbit are believed to have a peaceful and harmonious nature, often attracting good luck and positive energy. They are also associated with longevity.
The Dragon is a symbol of power, strength, and good fortune. Those born in the Year of the Dragon are believed to be ambitious, charismatic, and full of vitality. Dragons are often associated with success and are considered to bring blessings and prosperity.
People born in the Year of the Snake are thought to be intuitive, wise, and mysterious. Snakes are associated with transformation and rebirth, symbolizing renewal and positive change. Their keen instincts and ability to adapt contribute to their success.
Horses are known for their energetic, hardworking, and adventurous nature. Those born in the Year of the Horse are believed to be free-spirited and determined, often pursuing their goals with enthusiasm. Horses are also associated with success and victory.
Individuals born in the Year of the Goat are considered gentle, kind-hearted, and creative. The Goat symbolizes peace and harmony, and those born under this sign are believed to bring a sense of balance and artistic flair to the world.
Monkeys are known for their intelligence, wit, and playful nature. People born in the Year of the Monkey are believed to be quick learners and excellent problem-solvers. Their cleverness is associated with adaptability and resourcefulness.
Roosters are characterized by their confidence, honesty, and punctuality. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are believed to be hardworking and responsible, often achieving success through their disciplined approach to life.
Dogs are known for their loyalty, honesty, and strong sense of justice. People born in the Year of the Dog are believed to be reliable friends and trustworthy companions. The Dog is associated with protection and loyalty.
Those born in the Year of the Pig are considered kind-hearted, optimistic, and sincere. Pigs are associated with good fortune and prosperity. Their generous nature and ability to enjoy life’s pleasures make them well-liked by others.
Happy Lunar New Year!
Lunar New Year is a time of joy, reflection, and cultural celebration. By embracing the traditions, customs, and symbolism associated with this auspicious occasion, you can fully immerse yourself in the festivities and wish for a year filled with happiness, prosperity, and good fortune. Whether you’re participating in family gatherings, enjoying traditional foods, or exchanging symbolic gifts, Lunar New Year provides a unique opportunity to connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Asian communities that observe this vibrant celebration. May the Year of the Dragon bring you and your loved ones an abundance of blessings and prosperity!