Holiday Spotlight: Lunar New Year

Photo: Two Red Dots
Photo: Two Red Dots /

When we think of holidays, there are certain ones that typically come to mind- Christmas, Saint Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day. Holidays have been something that caused a buzz since the beginning of time. After all, almost every holiday celebrates an important person or religious event; this is true for the previously mentioned holidays.

In the search to learn more about holidays celebrated around the world that aren’t that of the typical Anglo-Christian variety, we came across one of the most vibrant holidays around- the holiday of Lunar New Year. As its date is based on the lunar (cycle of the moon’s fullness) calendar, the holiday can be celebrated anywhere from January to November, but its most commonly celebrated months are February and April.

It is also observed in an expansive list of countries that follow lunar calendars, including Taiwan, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Being that it is celebrated by so many different cultures, each tradition varies a bit. A prominent Lunar New Year is the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival as it is called in modern China. It is celebrated for sixteen days and includes several traditions, beginning by cleaning the house and shopping for supplies for the holiday.

It’s traditional to put up red and gold decorations, to gather with family and friends for a special dinner and staying up late. “Lucky” money is also given to children in red envelopes. The red color of the envelopes symbolizes good luck, energy, and happiness. The red paper of these hongbao is expected to bestow more happiness and blessings on the receivers.

Important to know-it is impolite to open a red envelope in front of the person who gives it to you. You can also take part in the holiday by eating lucky foods like dumplings, which are a symbol of wealth.