What is Lunar New Year?
Also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, Lunar New Year reflects the beginning of a new year in relation to the lunar (moon cycle) and solar (Earth’s orbit of the sun) calendar. One of the biggest celebrations of Lunar New Year is in China, a country which adopts a combined lunisolar calendar. This year in China, the Lunar New Year begins on 22nd January, where spectacular national celebrations will be marking the occasion. China often refers to the Lunar New Year as Spring Festival as the beginning of the new year also reflects the beginning of spring in China and a fresh start.
Lunar New Year Celebrations
Historically celebrated to honour deceased relatives and deities, many Chinese New Year traditions are still practised today. By welcoming spring, China also celebrates the opportunity for a new year of good luck and prosperity. This is symbolised by deep-cleaning houses in order to remove any lingering ill fortune and welcome in the good.
Family is another key component of Lunar New Year, as family members often share large meals together during the ‘reunion dinner,’ an event that typically takes place on the eve of Chinese New Year. This can be a great opportunity for several generations to reunite and plan the year ahead.
Presents can also be given during Lunar New Year celebrations. Typically given as a gift to children, red envelopes are filled with money by older relatives as a symbol of good luck and safety for the year to come. These envelopes are also known to ward off evil spirits.
Why not celebrate Chinese New Year in your class with Festive Bunting!
Chinese New Year Dragon Dance
Representing Chinese culture, the Dragon Dance is another key component of celebrating Chinese New Year. Often taking place on the streets of China for the public to enjoy, the Dragon Dance is performed to ward off evil spirits and to bless the population of China with good luck and prosperity.
Typically, the Dragon Dance is performed by a team of dancers who control a large puppet with poles. These dragons typically range from two metres to a staggering hundred metres long, making them a mesmerising spectacle. The dancers will move the poles together to make the puppet move in a fluid motion, representing the dragon spirit.
Who celebrates the Lunar New Year?
As well as China, Lunar New Year is also celebrated by Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Tibet (as well as several other countries around the world).
Lunar New Year Animals
Following the Lunar calendar, the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals in order are:
Throughout a twelve-year cycle, each Lunar year is represented by a different animal, all of which carry unique special characteristics. Take a look at our Chinese Zodiac Signs Word Search.
What is the animal of the year?
Beginning on 22nd January, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, lasting until 4th February 2024. The Rabbit represents peace, prosperity and longevity in China.