Celebrating the Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Tibet and Mongolia and in countries that have large Chinese populations. The Lunar New Year used to be celebrated in Japan, but now most of the Japanese people celebrate January 1 as their main New Year holiday.
This year’s Lunar New Year starts on January 23rd, the first day of the first new moon of the year and ends 15 days later on the full moon. The Chinese calendar has 12 cycles and a special animal represents each cycle. Based on Chinese astrology, this year is the Year of the Dragon, which is the only mystical creature in the zodiac. People that are born on the Year of the Dragon is said to be charismatic, energetic and natural born leaders.
New year celebrations starts on the eve of the first new moon with a feast and fireworks. To symbolize a fresh start, families clean their homes and place flowers and plants around their homes that represents rebirth. And often giving gifts of new money or money that are placed in red and gold envelopes are exchanged that is said to bring good fortune. Some people think that these kind of celebrations as exotic, but people in Asia sees this as an opportunity to take a break from work and school and spend time with family like what others do on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Foods that are considered lucky during the Lunar New Year are dumplings and stuffed delicacies that symbolizes packages of good fortune. Fireworks are set off and dragon dances are performed to ward away any evil spirits.