What Is the Lunar New 12 months?

Whereas many components of the world noticed New 12 months’s Day on January 1 (the primary day of the 12 months in response to the trendy Gregorian calendar), for nations that use a lunisolar calendar, the brand new 12 months usually falls a couple of weeks later. In 2023, January 22 marks the start of the Lunar New 12 months. People usually seek advice from the 15-day celebration as Chinese language New 12 months, however the pageant is definitely celebrated by a number of Asian nations — together with South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore — with Lunar New 12 months traditions that adjust from nation to nation. Undecided what Chinese language New 12 months customs entail? Maintain studying to be taught extra.

Very similar to the Western New 12 months, individuals take into account Lunar New 12 months (additionally generally referred to as Chunjie, or the Spring Competition) an opportunity to depart behind the troubles of the previous 12 months and enhance upon the nice luck that got here their means. Chinese language New 12 months additionally welcomes a brand new animal from the Chinese language zodiac (a repeating 12-year cycle the place every year is represented by an animal and its attributes), with 2023 ushering within the 12 months of the Rabbit. If you happen to’re hoping to set your self up for good luck this upcoming new 12 months, then you possibly can take part on a few of the following Chinese language New 12 months traditions.

What are the traditions of Lunar New 12 months?

Since it’s celebrated by Asian communities everywhere in the world, Lunar New 12 months traditions can differ relying on every nation and particular person. “For the Chinese language, Lunar New 12 months is probably the most extensively celebrated vacation of the 12 months as we welcome a brand new 12 months hopefully stuffed with good well being, happiness, and prosperity,” New York Chinese language Cultural Middle government director Ying Yen tells Lady’s Day. Listed below are the commonest traditions, customs, and festivities related to Chinese language New 12 months.

Cleansing your property

Preparations for the 15-day celebration start weeks prematurely, beginning with an compulsory spring cleansing. As Yen explains, “It’s customary for households to totally clear the home earlier than New 12 months’s Day in an effort to sweep away any ill-fortune from the earlier 12 months and to make means for good luck within the new 12 months.”

In keeping with Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, founding father of Miss Panda Chinese language and creator of First Mandarin Sounds, a deep cleansing of 1’s residence is likely one of the most vital traditions completed to organize for the arrival of Lunar New 12 months. “There may be even a saying Chinese language individuals seek advice from once they clear up the home presently, and that’s, ‘Out with the outdated, in with the brand new,'” she provides.

Adorning with crimson

Forward of Lunar New 12 months, celebrants additionally beautify their freshly-cleaned houses with the colour crimson, which is claimed to carry good luck. “Adorning your property with crimson paper cuttings, lanterns, and flowers could be very widespread, as crimson is an auspicious shade,” says Yen. Along with inviting luck, the colour crimson can be believed to indicate prosperity and vitality, which thrust back evil spirits and negativity.

Having fun with a household dinner

On Lunar New 12 months’s Eve, persons are anticipated to be residence to have a good time the pageant with their households, with celebrants gathering for an enormous feast often known as the reunion dinner. For a lot of, it is the one time of the 12 months when individuals can journey residence and spend time with their households.

As Hsiung-Blodgett explains, “This household occasion is so vital — that is why you may see information studies about hundreds of thousands of Chinese language individuals heading again residence to reunite with their dad and mom and households on the identical time. There can be main visitors jams and the arrival time may be delayed for hours, however getting residence to see the dad and mom, siblings, and kin is the last word objective.”

Exchanging crimson envelopes

Chinese language New 12 months is the season of crimson envelopes, that are given to kids by older kin and stuffed with money, often known as Ya Sui Qian, or “fortunate cash.” In keeping with Yen, “usually, adults give these crimson envelopes to kids with cash inside to carry good luck. It is truly the crimson shade that’s extra symbolic, not the cash inside, however I feel youngsters would say in any other case.”

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Shopping for new garments

Simply as individuals clear their houses to usher in a contemporary begin, many celebrants will spruce up their wardrobes to kick off the brand new 12 months. “Some individuals put on new garments on New 12 months’s Day to indicate a clear new begin,” Yen says, and whereas some buy new on a regular basis clothes to represent a clear slate, others purchase new conventional clothes to put on once they go to household.

New garments are welcome through the Lunar New 12 months, however not new books. In actual fact, many consider that purchasing new books for your self or others through the 15-day celebration can forecast unhealthy luck for the upcoming 12 months, because the Chinese language phrase for “e book” is pronounced the identical means because the phrase “lose.” Likewise, new hairstyles are additionally out. It is because the Chinese language character for “hair” is similar as the primary character within the phrase for “prosper,” so it is believed that reducing or altering your hair on the primary day (and even first month) of the brand new 12 months reduces your probabilities of prosperity.

Watching lion and dragon dances

In China, Lunar New 12 months ends with the Lantern Competition, which is a celebration that features dancing, video games, parades, and dragon and lion dances. Nevertheless, you may see lion dances and dragon dances carried out in China and in Chinatowns all through Western nations all through the Lunar New 12 months interval, and they’re carried out to carry prosperity and good luck for the upcoming 12 months.

Providing greetings

Within the U.S., we greet individuals in January with a primary, “Blissful New 12 months.” In China, Lunar New 12 months greetings are somewhat bit extra formal. To want somebody a cheerful and affluent new 12 months in Mandarin Chinese language, you’d usually say, “Gong xi fa chai,” which is a Chinese language New 12 months greeting which means, “Wishing you prosperity and wealth.” As Hsiung-Blodgett tells us, “Say fortunate expressions to individuals you see, and in return, they are going to reply to you with fortunate phrases.”

After all, numerous Asian nations outdoors of China even have totally different Lunar New 12 months needs of their respective languages. As an example, to honor elders in Korea, individuals say “Saehae bok mani badeuseyo,” which suggests, “Please obtain quite a lot of luck for the New 12 months.” And in Vietnam, individuals say, “Chúc mừng năm mới,” which merely means “Blissful New 12 months” in Vietnamese.

What meals are historically eaten for Lunar New 12 months?

Like many holidays world wide, meals performs an vital function throughout Lunar New 12 months, with conventional Lunar New 12 months delicacies various relying on every nation and neighborhood. Listed below are a couple of widespread meals you may seemingly see at a Chinese language New 12 months celebration which have auspicious meanings, largely due to the “sound affiliation with a fortunate phrase or phrase in Mandarin,” as Hsiung-Blodgett says.


Consuming dumplings across the holidays is a well-liked custom in China, so it is smart that dumplings, or jiaozi in Mandarin, are a staple for Lunar New 12 months celebrations. In keeping with Yen, it’s because the form of a Chinese language-style dumpling resembles ingots, the items of gold that have been used as cash in historic instances. Likewise, the phrase jiaozi is much like the traditional phrase for brand new changing the outdated.

chinese new year food

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Candy rice cake

Candy rice cake, or nian gao, is a should for Chinese language New 12 months. Nian gao refers to a steamed brown sugar rice cake, and it’s is taken into account good luck to eat throughout this time of the 12 months as a result of nian gao is a homonym for “greater 12 months” or “develop yearly,” so individuals affiliate it with promotion and prosperity.

Lengthy noodles

In some components of China, celebrants feast on lengthy noodle dishes, which Yen says symbolize longevity. Generally known as chángshòu miàn, these “long-life noodles” or “longevity noodles” may be so long as two toes and are served uncut, both fried or submerged in a broth, and it is stated that the longer the noodle you eat, the longer you’ll stay.

Glutinous rice balls

A well-liked snack throughout China, glutinous rice balls, or tang yuan, are stuffed with crimson bean, sesame, peanut, and different candy fillings. These tasty treats are usually eaten on the fifteenth and final day of the Chinese language New 12 months celebration, and tang yuan are stated to represent household togetherness and reunion, as represented by their spherical form.

Complete fish

A complete fish is one other important dish within the Chinese language New 12 months. This custom comes from the Chinese language pronunciation of fish, which is similar for that of fortune and surplus, and the fish eaten for the celebration is often steamed. Additionally, the that means of this dish varies barely relying on what sort of fish is chosen, with carp stated to carry good luck and catfish stated to carry a wealthy life, for instance.


Hsiung-Blodgett says that mandarin oranges are thought-about auspicious meals through the Lunar New 12 months as effectively, and so they’re typically given as presents. It is because the Chinese language phrase for mandarin, kam, sounds much like the phrase for “gold,” so having mandarin oranges across the residence at New 12 months is claimed to carry riches into your life. Likewise, the gold shade of those fruits additionally symbolizes prosperity.