People across the globe celebrate Lunar New Year


Patrick Kwan from New York City, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In Chinatown, USA a colorful parade takes place, including a traditional dragon and costumes. Many cities across the country hold huge Lunar New Year parades and celebrations.

Gianna Cozzolino, Ranger Review Reporter

Lunar New Year falls on February 1, 2022 this year and the celebrations last for 15 days, making it the longest Chinese holiday. Communities all throughout the world travel back to hometowns to celebrate and ring in the new year.

The Gregorian calendar is based on the sun, whereas the Lunar calendar is based on the 12 phases on the moon, each which lasts 29 days. Lunar New Year is not just a Chinese holiday, it’s widely celebrated in Vietnam, Korea, and the United States. The holiday celebrates the arrival of spring and saying goodbye to the old and the bad. It’s for new beginnings, luck and togetherness. The holiday is also commonly referred to as the Spring Festival.

Each year of the lunar calendar is represented by one of the 12 zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog or pig. 2022 is the year of the tiger. So, what does that mean? 

Similar to Western astrological signs, Chinese zodiacs predict a lot about the people born in that year. For example, tigers are assertive, energetic leaders. Many people believe that your zodiac can predict much about your personality, career, and major life events.

Origins of the Chinese New Year can date back to the 14th century BC Shang Dynasty. As China was an agricultural country then, the holiday revolved around hoping for a successful and bountiful harvest. However in 1949, under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, the government forbade celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year. The holiday has been back in the mainstream since the 1990’s.

Chinese New Year is all about luck, so there are certain taboos and superstitions surrounding the holiday. The goal is to take away all the bad luck, so swearing, using knives, breaking things, or anything considered unlucky is steered away from the day of Lunar New Year. As well, fireworks and firecrackers are set off at night to scare away monsters and unlucky spirits. 

An important part of Lunar New Year is the dinner. The legend is that the monster, Nian, would come and terrorize the villages, so people would stay in their house, cook foods, and pray. While prayer and religion is not the most vital part of the celebration, it is key to many families and communities. Traditions vary from place to place, however, it’s tradition to return to your hometown for the celebration.

Some lucky Chinese New Year foods include dumplings, which bring wealth; fish which bring prosperity; and spring rolls. Different dumpling fillings even have different meanings.

While many of us are unfamiliar with Chinese culture, we know of the dragon dance, the tradition of performers each holding part of a large dragon, with which they twirl, move and dance to music. 

The finale of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival will be celebrated on February 15th this year. Some say the Lantern Festival is the “real” Chinese Valentine’s day, due to the fun and sometimes romantic socializing throughout the entire community. Lanterns come in all different shapes and sizes. Lanterns don’t just play one part in Chinese and other Asian cultures. They are used to wish happiness, health and luck onto people. They are gifted to pregnant women or newlyweds. Drinking wine, writing and reciting poetry are also common during the last day of the celebration. 

Lunar New Year is a holiday filled with joy, family, and the arrival of luck and prosperity. Families and friends around the world celebrate through love and centuries long traditions.