Happy Year of the ox

About Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year, Chinese Chunjie, Vietnamese Tet, Korean Solnal, Tibetan Losar, also called Spring Festival, typically celebrated in China and other Asian countries that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later.

The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, so the dates of the holiday vary slightly from year to year, beginning some time between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars.

Approximately 10 days before the beginning of the new lunar year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck that might be lingering inside, a custom called “sweeping of the grounds.”

Traditionally, New Year’s eve and New Year’s day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honouring ancestors. Also on New Year’s day, family members receive red envelopes (lai see) containing small amounts of money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night colorful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (rawish and vegetable salad) are served.

Lunar New Year in China is the most significant time for Chinese people to pay respect to their ancestors and spend time with family and friends. The New Year’s Eve dinner at home is seen as the most important meal of the year.

Millions of people manage to get home before the dinner, which causes extremely high traffic load across the nation; the so-called largest annual human migration in the world. Food plays an essential role to connect people and to relax and reward them for a year of hard work.

Red pockets containing a monetary gift are always exchanged and the new trend is to give away red pocket via a digital platform like WeChat. The 15th day of the lunar month marks the official end of the traditional new year celebration.

Vietnamese New Year, also known as Tet, is one of the most sacred festivals for Vietnamese people.

Tet is ultimately a time for meeting and catching up with family while also paying respect to ancestors that came before. The hopes for good fortune and new beginnings in the coming year is symbolized by its foods Mam Ngu Qua (five-fruit tray), flowers and plants, (flowering peach trees), which can be found in peoples' houses, markets and shops.

Celebrations generally last for 3 days but can continue for a week, where people drink and eat mut, (candied fruits), banh chung, (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork),and mang (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and pork.)

Chinese New Year used to be celebrated only by Chinese Filipinos, but nowadays among the general population, there is a growing practice of giving moon cakes and New Year’s rice cake (tikoy). On New Year’s Eve, there are fireworks in Chinatowns across the country and dragon dances in the malls are becoming more common.

The Chinese culture in the Philippines had been recognized to be very influential in the country, as Filipinos are known to partake in the celebration by means of having Chinese Food, consulting Feng Shui experts for good luck, as well as reading their Chinese horoscope.

Korean Lunar New Year, or 설날 (Seollal) is a time for paying respect to ancestors and to meet up with family and old friends. It is also a time to embrace Korean cultural and culinary traditions. It is not uncommon to see people dressed in a Hanbok (traditional clothes), performing ancestral rites, playing traditional games and listening to old folk stories.

South Koreans* celebrate Lunar New Year for three days: the actual day of Lunar New Year, which falls on the day of the second new moon after winter solstice, the day before and the day after.

Families typically celebrate the holiday by gathering together and preparing large amounts of food. Tteokguk (rice cake soup), Galbi Jjim (braised short ribs) and Jeon (Korean pancakes) are some of the delicious foods you will see during Seollal.