By Jenna “Eviana” Bradshaw, Staff Writer

A common misconception exists where people equate the Lunar New Year with the Chinese New Year. Although the holiday is widely celebrated in China, it is not the only country to observe the festival.

Many Asian countries interpret the lunar calendar in the same or a similar way and so what is considered the new year fall on dates close to one another. Dates can range anywhere from late January to middle of February. Lunar New Year is set for Feb. 8 in the U.S. this year.

According to SunSigns.org, 2016 is the year of the Red Fire Monkey, so you may see a lot of different decorations incorporating this animal. Many people look to their horoscope for predictions about the upcoming year.

Celebratory traditions and food vary between countries and people. Some examples from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) include the Water Festival (Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Burma), actions at the dawn of Tet determines fate for the whole year (Vietnam), Lantern Festival (China), Tteokguk: traditional dish and each serving extends life (Korea) and Joya no Kane: purification bells rung 108 times for each evil desire (Japan – Buddhism).

Of course, these are not all of the traditions practiced during the Lunar New Year. Countless people use the holiday to come together with their loved ones and spend time with one another. If you have never participated in a Lunar New Year celebration, I suggest figuring out a way to experience it, even if only to try some traditional new year food.

good-health-and-good-fortune

Obtaining red envelopes and abundant fruits during lunar new year traditionally predicts good health and good fortune in some cultures.

More Interesting Facts About the Lunar New Year:

  • 1/5 of the world’s population celebrates this holiday
  • Check out the list of countries that give their citizens time off in order to celebrate
  • The practice of exchanging BILLIONS of red envelopes
  • A common tradition is to give people red envelopes filled with cash.
  • Old and young, employer and employee, families and friends all exchange these envelopes as a symbol of good luck for the new year
  • The BIGGEST annual fireworks usage: China
  • Along with the most usage, China produces about 90 percent of the world’s fireworks

 


Sources:

Featured Image: pixabay

Article Image: By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada (Good health and good fortune) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons