Lunar New Year is spectacular, loud, and for many cultures across Asia the most important festival of the year.
The festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the calendar, and ends with the ‘Lantern Festival’ on the 15th day.
When is Lunar New Year?
The date of Lunar New Year differs every year. In 2024 it occurs on 10 February.
In many cultures, each year is also associated with an animal from the zodiac. Often the animals are the same across different Asian countries, including China, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore and Cambodia.
The Chinese New Year (新年) is also known as the Spring Festival (春节). It is the most solemn festival of the year for every Chinese and has been celebrated in China for thousands of years, with various forms of activities among the diverse regions of China.
The New Year celebration is centred around removing the bad and the old, and welcoming the new and the good. It’s a time to worship ancestors, exorcise evil spirits and pray for good harvest.
Today it’s celebrated also by Chinese communities outside the country. Lion dance, dragon dance, temple fairs, flower market shopping and so on are just a few of these rich and colourful activities.
In the run-up to the new year people will clean their houses to get rid of dirt, rubbish and other unwanted items. They will redecorate them with red couplets, lanterns, new flowerpots and furniture, and will shop for foodstuffs for banquet specialities.
The New Year is an important family reunion occasion, so those who are living or working far away would return home prior to the holiday. In China this is now known as Chun Yun (春运 Moving in the Spring): tens of millions of people travel on the country’s vast public transport systems or via private means, coming home to be with their loved ones.