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Lunar New Year: Traditions From Around The World!

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The Lunar New Year, Chunjie in Chinese or Spring Festival, is a festival typically celebrated in China and other Asian countries (Tet in Vietnam, Solnal in South Korea, and Losar in Tibet). As it follows the lunar calendar it does not fall on a specific day, but the dates vary slightly from year to year. The festival always starts on the first full moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later. This year’s celebration will start on February 12 and end on February 26. According to the Chinese horoscope, this year will be the year of the Ox.

Origins

The festival is thousands of years old and according to one legend a hideous monster, Nian, would come about every New Year’s Eve and feast on human flesh. Whilst most people would hide in their homes, one boy fought the monster off using firecrackers, sparking celebrations for days to follow using even more firecrackers and lanterns.   Click here for The Nian Monster (US edition). Click here for Jia and The Nian Monster (UK edition).   

Good Luck

Nowadays people still celebrate by using firecrackers and as a sign of good luck, they also burn fake money and printed gold bars.  

Family Time 

As tradition demands the Spring Festival is a family celebration and you should spend your time with them.  For many, their parents still live in rural villages. This creates the biggest yearly people migration as everyone heads home. This Spring Migration is called Chunyun.

Taboo or not Taboo

If it is your first time celebrating the Lunar New Year you might want to check out what you are not allowed to do before the fifth day of the festival:  
  • Showering
  • Sweeping
  • Throwing out the garbage
  • Arguing, swearing
  • Saying unlucky things
Red envelopes are a traditional way of celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Red Envelopes

It’s a tradition for children to receive red envelopes, also called red packets. Each envelope contains money and it’s a symbolic way to pass the fortune from the elders to the younger members of the family.   Why not try and craft some red envelopes with your children. Click here for the full instructions.

It’s All About The Food

Like any other good celebration, there is always some great food to be shared. In this case, we are talking about dessert. Nian Gao, a kind of rice cake, is often shared as it symbolizes success for every year to come. Click here for a full recipe to try at home. Fa Gao, a mix between a sponge cake and a muffin, is dyed in festive colors and is a symbol of wealth. Why not try this at home.  

Red Is The New Black

Red is a powerful color in Chinese culture and it’s also one of the things Nian (the monster we talked about before) is scared of. So, most families will decorate their houses with red lanterns and strings of chili peppers. They will also decorate their doors and windows with red paper.  

Happy New Year

It’s always good to make an effort into learning at least a few words to wish a Happy New Year: Xin Nian Kuai Le Although if you are in Hong Kong or other Cantonese speaking countries you might want to say: Gong Hei Fat Choy For Mandarin Chinese: Gong Xi Fa Cai.     You may also like these articles from Bébé Voyage:  

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