What Is The Chinese Lunar New Year?

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What Is The Chinese Lunar New Year?
Zodiac

The Lunar New Year is one of the more colorful holidays celebrated around the world.

In China, the Lunar New Year is referred to as chunyun. The Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year may also be called the Spring Festival.

What is the Lunar New Year?

The Lunar New Year is the most famous celebration in the world celebrated by various Asia cultures that recognize the same start of a new year.

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Around my house: there’s dumplings, rice cakes, my relatives, and more importantly, lots of red.

CNY lasts from the first new moon lunar phase to the first full moon, which is approximately two weeks' length of time.

The start of the Lunar New Year is also incredibly auspicious.

In January, the month that often precedes the new year, many newlyweds go get their compatibility and birth read: as the start of the new year also means the start of the new zodiac year — which can bring good or bad luck at any turn.

A new Zodiac Year is marked by one of China’s Zodiac animals. These animals and their personality traits tell a lot about a person and their future.

The start of a new year then marks the start of a brand new fortune.

Here is some history and background on the Lunar New Year holiday:

The Lunar New Year isn't only celebrated in China

While people mostly associate the Lunar New Year with Chinese New Year celebrations, many Asian countries use the Lunar Calendar.

Based on the monthly cycle of the moon phases (or called synodic months) Chinese New Year fell on Jan.

25 this year, while in 2021 the New Year will begin on Feb. 12.

This goes to show that the Lunar New Year is not only subject to change and that the start of the Lunar New Year differs from country to country.

For example, the Thai New Year, called Songkran, will begin on April 13 and end on April 15.

Synodic months are about 29 to 30 days in length, making a lunar year 11 days shorter than a 12 month long solar new year.

So even though the new year typically starts in the dead of winter, the Chinese New Year is also called “Spring Festival,” because it signifies the start of a new season.

The turn of the year then not only signifies the change of weather, but also the hope for a new life.

The Lunar New Year is about family

Over 1.5 billion people celebrate the Lunar New Year.

New Year’s Eve and New Years are a time to celebrate your ancestors, your traditions, and everything that came before you.

Similar to the New Year in Western countries, Lunar New Year is a time for family.

Nearly a sixth of the world’s population celebrates CNY, with over 1 billion Chinese citizens and Chinese communities all over the world.

Oftentimes my family and I would cook together, while China’s famous TV program: CCTV’s New Year’s Gala plays in the background. (This program is similar to watching Anderson Cooper cover the Times Square Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve.)

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The Lunar New Year has many traditions

To ensure luck in the “new life,” there are many little traditions my family does both in preparation and the day of the new year.

The most obvious is the red decorations — we would hang red lanterns outside our house to drive away the bad luck, as well as hang two-part idioms on red scrolls along the wall.

These idioms might be a saying we want to live by for the year or something we want to come true.

We also take the time to give respect to our ancestors. A lot about Lunar New Year is about preparing for the future, but it is a time to thank your past for what it has given you.

We would often burn incense and take a moment to pray to my grandparents and everyone who has come before us. It is an incredibly comforting practice because it feels as if someone is protecting you for the coming year.

The Lunar New Year can bring good luck

Lastly, and most importantly, we will hang a diamond tapestry with the Chinese character for luck on it (fu) upside down on our door.

When the luck is turned upside down, this means that it is pouring out — not in a bad way of course, but instead, it is “pouring out” onto anyone who comes in through the house.

On the Lunar New Year, everything feels imbued with a special meaning: we eat noodles now to ensure our long lives, we eat dumplings to hope for wealth.

The joy surrounding the holiday not only makes me thankful for my family but makes me believe in the possibility of my good luck.

The Lunar New Year is different from the New Year practiced in the United States.

Western countries often use the Gregorian calendar; this means we base our years off of calculations based on the sun’s cycle around the Earth.

By basing our months on the sun, rather than the moon’s phases, Western calendars have 30-31 days versus the Lunar 29.

This also means that solar calendars have a very set number of days and set a number of months in each calendar year. Lunar New Year is different year to year.

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Jessica Xing is a writer who covers astrology, culture, and media.

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