The Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, is a celebration unlike any other. I was first introduced to this celebration many years ago as Chinese New Year, however, I’ve grown to realize that Lunar New Year is important to many Asian cultures. It is celebrated around the world in many places including China, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Tibet. This celebration does not hold a specific date, rather it is based on the lunar calendar generally falling on a day between January 21st and February 20th.
This year Lunar New Year falls on January 22nd
2023 is the year of the rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac, which features a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a specific animal. If you were born in the following years, you were born during a Rabbit year: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011.
For many, Lunar New Year is a time to visit family. Similar to Christmas in the United States, part of the Lunar New Year celebration promotes retail consumption and mass domestic tourism. It is estimated that this vast festival brings in the equivalent of nearly 80 billion US dollars. The travel surrounding the holiday is considered to be the largest annual human migration in the whole world, with nearly 3 billion people traveling around the country, most returning to their hometowns.
The Lunar New Year celebrations happen in phases
The first phase, lasting for 8 days, is called the Little Year. This is the time of preparation - cleaning, sweeping, and an overall fresh start mentality. In traditional and contemporary Chinese cultures, as in many other cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, the color red represents happiness and prosperity and is considered to be a lucky color. The belief is that by surrounding yourself and your home with elaborate red decorations good luck will follow you into the new year.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is aligned with the new moon. Families come together for a reunion dinner, many traveling long distances to return home. This dinner consists of traditional symbolically lucky meals, including dumplings! In China, from 8:00 pm-12:30 am TV sets in family rooms will be set to CCTV’s New Year Gala for a 4.5-hour live presentation of games, songs, dances, martial art exhibitions, sketches, music, acrobatics, drama, and more!
Spring & Lantern Festival
On the 15th day of the first Lunar month, two weeks after Lunar New Year, another important festival is celebrated, the lantern festival. The Spring Festival welcomes Spring and symbolizes the reunification of the family bond. It falls on the first full moon of the new lunar year, which in 2023 is February 5th. Festival celebrations include fireworks, lion and dragon dances, riddles, and parades. Respect is paid to ancestors in the form of shrines and offerings. Both kids and unmarried adults receive money in lavish red envelopes from parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. With modern technology all around us red envelopes have gone digital too! WeChat is commonly used to send red envelopes. Why not download WeChat and send someone you love a red envelope for good luck in 2023!
There are many small variations of Lunar New Year around the world, however, the underlying traditions remain the same. May you, your friends, and family have a happy, healthy, and prosperous year of the Rabbit!
Traditional Chinese Medicine and the complementary modalities and services we offer at Golden Proportion Acupuncture have so much to offer you AND your family. Give us a call today to find out how we can support you in having a happy, healthy, and prosperous year of the Rabbit!