Lunar New Year is not exactly the same as Chinese New Year
Over 1.5 billion people celebrate Lunar New Year every year in China, Korea, Vietnam and other regions in South East Asia.
Many countries around the world use the lunar calendar to celebrate at different times of year, so there are other celebrations called Lunar New Year around the world.
It’s the Year of the Dog
15 February 2018 will mark the end of the year of the Rooster, and 16 February is the official start of the Year of the Dog, the eleventh Chinese Zodiac sign. In Chinese astrology, when the current year and year of your birth coincide, it’s bad luck.
There are many different legends about the Chinese zodiac. One version is that the Jade Emperor raced 12 animals and allocated places in order of arrival, officially: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
The date for Lunar New Year changes every year
Lunar New Year is based on the cycle of the moon and the four seasons, so the date changes every year, usually in January or February.
Two days before Chinese New Year is a designated day of cleaning
This year the day of cleaning has already been and gone on 13 Feb for those who didn’t get to it…
Cleaning before Chinese New Year is considered symbolic, clearing out things that are no longer needed as a way of farewelling the old year and ringing in the new.
Rules about red envelopes
In northern China, red envelopes called yasui qian (called Lishi in southern parts of China and Hong Kong) are exchanged with money, but the significance is in the red paper, which is considered a lucky colour full of energy, and is aimed to bestow good fortune on the receivers. Money is given by those who have means, and is given to close family and friends, children and even employees. It’s considered rude to open a red envelope in front of the person who gave it to you.
The number eight is considered lucky in China, because the word for the number eight, bā, sounds similar to the Chinese word for 'prosper' and ‘rich’.
More recently, young people often send red envelopes via social media platform WeChat.
It’s all about family The most important parts of Lunar New Year is spending time with family. The reunion dinner which occurs on Lunar New Year’s Eve is one of the most important events in the celebration, where a variety of dishes are served to celebrate family coming together.
It ends with a lantern festival People often return to work after a seven-day break in countries like China, but the celebrations continue for the first 15 days of the year. The end of the new year is marked by the lantern festival. One tradition is to paste poems with riddles in them inside the lanterns – if you solve a riddle, you can claim a prize from the lantern owner.
There are Lunar New Year celebrations happening around Melbourne According to the City of Melbourne, “feasting, firecrackers and the awakening of the dragon are just some of the traditional festivities in Melbourne's Chinatown”. Join in and explore Melbourne's rich Chinese heritage as Chinatown comes alive in stunning hues of red and gold.