Lunar New Year: When Is It And How To Prepare For It?

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Also known as Chinese New Year, the holiday will take place on January 22. Also, it will feature massive gatherings. What animal represents the new cycle, and how to celebrate it?

On Sunday, January 22, the Lunar New Year will begin, represented by a different animal from the Chinese zodiac. This festivity based on the movement of the Moon and the Earth. So, each year falls on a different date. Millions of people return to their place of origin to receive a new year marked by the lunar calendar.

Known in some parts of the West as Chinese New Year, the holiday is one of the most important of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures. Also, Vietnamese and Korean communities celebrate in all parts of the world.

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Normally, the Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon which occurs at the end of January, this year falling on Sunday the 22nd of the same month. Traditional celebrations usually last 16 days between New Year's Eve, and the first full moon arrives.

Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar New Year bases its dates on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, made up of a complicated combination of the moon's cycles and the earth's annual orbit around the sun.

This calendar indicates the time taking into account both the phases of the Sun and the phases of the Moon. A lunar month is comprised of the moments in which the moon is in the same phase.

As there are usually twelve lunar months for each solar year, the repetition of twelve moons was called a lunar year. Now, since the lunar years do not coincide with the solar years, from time to time there is a solar year with thirteen moons.

The celebration gives rise to massive gatherings and a series of colorful and joyous events, where the animal that will represent the year is announced and different rituals are carried out to receive it. In addition, it is a time to get together with family and friends, celebrating unity, prosperity, and hope as pillars.

The intention of the Chinese New Year, according to the official website of its Government, is to "welcome the happiness that good luck seizes, demolish the old and bring in the new and pray for a good harvest" throughout the year. year.

What animal represents this Lunar New Year?

Each Lunar New Year receives the name of one of the 12 animals of the Chinese horoscope, which will represent what is expected for this new cycle. The animals that rotate repetitively are the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, and the dog.

These animals are also complemented by one of five elements including earth, water, fire, wood, and metal. This year he was represented by the tiger, accompanied by the element of water. This Lunar New Year will be identified by the Water Rabbit, a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture, so it is expected to be a year of hope.

People born during this year of the rabbit, along with the water element, are considered friendly and kind. Likewise, they easily adapt to any condition, although they are also often highly influenced by others due to their weak mentality.

The world's largest annual migration to celebrate Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year has also spurred a new form of travel called "chunyun" and is known as the world's largest annual migration. In 40 days, hundreds of millions of people return to their hometowns in China to reunite with their families and celebrate the New Year.

For this year's celebration, estimates put around 2,090 million trips between January 7 and February 15, an increase of 99.5% compared to 2022, according to the Ministry of Transport of the Asian giant.

The growth in passengers compared to the previous year is considered a response to the announcement by the authorities at the beginning of December with which they launched a gradual opening and the dismantling of the "zero covid" policy.

This policy was accompanied by restrictions that had been in force for almost three years and consisted of confinements where cases were registered, the closure of borders, the isolation of those infected and their close contacts, and constant PCR tests on the population.

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How to prepare to receive the Lunar New Year?

Asians consider that the first days of the new year will set the mood for the rest of the year. Although customs and traditions vary between regions, they all share the same theme: saying goodbye to the old year and receiving luck and prosperity in the new year.

That is why the main activities of the Lunar New Year include:

  • Go to parades, street parties: some of the emblems of the new year are the vibrant and lively parades, with dragon and lion dances, along with acrobats, dancers, and other shows. During the celebration, the spectators make noise in the streets with drums and bells.

  • Throwing off firecrackers and fireworks: In China, people often set off firecrackers as they are believed to ward off evil spirits.

  • Cleaning and decorating houses with red things: people clean thoroughly as it symbolizes sweeping away bad energy and receiving good luck in their homes. Red is the main color of the holiday as it denotes prosperity and energy, which drives away evil spirits and negativity.

  • Offering sacrifices to the ancestors: Another custom involves visiting the graves of the ancestors and offering sacrifices to them to honor them and show that they are letting them “eat” first. Also, they add an extra glass and place it on the dinner table on new year's eve.

  • Enjoying a family reunion dinner on the eve: It's a time for families to be together, celebrating prosperity. It is considered the most important meal of the year and, by tradition, it is celebrated in the home of the oldest member of the family.

  • Gifts in red envelopes: in the New Year it is customary to give gifts. Money in a red envelope is mainly given to children as a wish for another safe and peaceful year. It is expected that when they grow up, these children will give back to their elders by giving the same gift.

  • Wearing new clothes: as a symbol of awaiting the new year free from the energies of the previous year. People often wear vibrant colors like red, which symbolizes harmony, good luck, and happiness.


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