How to Have a Family Lunar New Year Celebration
In many Asian nations, Lunar New Year is the greatest holiday of the year. It’s a spectacular fifteen-day event with parades, fireworks, and specialty foods.
Although Lunar New Year is not a holiday in the US, many Asian-American families still celebrate it according to their traditions and customs.
Here are some ideas for how to celebrate the Lunar New Year at home and how to teach your children about it.
The Lunar New Year is what?
About 3,500 years ago, Lunar New Year first appeared. It heralds the start of the conventional lunisolar calendar, which was established for agricultural purposes and is based on the cycles of the sun and moon.
The festival is known by many Americans as “Chinese New Year,” but it is also observed in other Asian nations, such as South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Singapore.
Countries and even regions have different traditions and customs. In general, it’s a time to celebrate the new year, feast on traditional dishes, and pay respect to ancestors and gods.
The zodiac is often linked to Lunar New Year. Due to the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, each year is symbolized by a new animal, including the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The year of the rabbit is 2023.
Lunar New Year occurs when?
The first new moon of the lunisolar calendar marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.
It continues for 15 days, or until the first full moon. Every year, the holiday occurs at a different time, typically between January 21 and February 20.
The Lunar New Year will start on January 22 in 2023. The Lantern Festival, which will take place on February 5 to honor the final day of celebrations, marks the conclusion of the festivities.
The Lantern Festival includes numerous parades, festivities, and traditional dishes that stand for prosperity and community.
Chinese New Year customs
Families clean their homes in advance of the Lunar New Year to ward off evil spirits and embrace a new beginning. Once the path to luck has been cleared, they will engage in a variety of celebrations.
Here are a few traditional Lunar New Year customs, albeit the specifics change depending on the nation and culture.
Since red is a lucky color, many people dress in it during the Lunar New Year. In modern times, my sports-loving teenage children prefer to wear red shirts, a red scrunchie, and bizarre red socks instead of the traditional red Chinese clothing for girls.
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For Lunar New Year, millions of people travel to see their families, and the festivities begin with a “reunion supper.” Dumplings, entire fish, sweet rice cakes, and sticky rice balls are some of the holiday meals.
Fire off the fireworks
One myth holds that the origin of the firecracker custom can be traced to a battle with the monster Nian, who first emerged on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
The majority of households lock their doors and go into hiding, but a brave old guy used firecrackers to fend off the monster. Since then, people light off fireworks on Lunar New Year to frighten away evil spirits.
Join a parade or lion dance
People assemble for live performances of lunar new year rituals that are believed to bring luck and prosperity.
It’s thrilling to watch a lion dance, complete with ringing cymbals and thundering drums. The brilliant, colorful lions that dance about like enormous dogs with goofy eyes are a big hit with my kids.
Another well-liked Lunar New Year custom involves puppeteers controlling a large dragon through dancing.
Envelopes in red
Giving a red envelope as a present from parents or other family members is one of the most well-known Chinese customs.
Be on the watch for beautiful rabbit caricatures this year as the packages are brilliantly stenciled.
These are typically loaded with cash, but for a more contemporary twist, try filling the envelopes with chocolate coins or other treats.
I was able to obtain recently printed $2 bills this year to put in my kids’ Lunar New Year envelopes.
Dress up the house
For Lunar New Year, residences are decorated in the brilliant color red, which represents luck, in addition to people wearing red clothing.
Red lanterns, paper cutouts, painted doors, and other decorations are everywhere. My holiday hack is recycling my red Christmas ornaments.
My trees will remain lit in crimson throughout the Lunar New Year, and I have turned on my New Year’s fireworks light show once again for the occasion.
How to Have a Family-Friendly Lunar New Year Celebration
Start by partaking in the customs listed above to commemorate Lunar New Year: cleaning the house, decorating with red, throwing a feast, giving red envelopes as gifts, etc.
Then have a look at some additional entertaining ways to celebrate the holiday with your family.
For the Lunar New Year, many families enjoy preparing dumplings together. Because I didn’t believe that they wouldn’t eat raw meat when they were little, my kids used to pack the dough into tiny pouches.
They continued to be delighted by their prepared, meatless masterpieces! Not only are dumplings delectable, but they also stand in for auspicious gold ingots, a Chinese New Year emblem.
Share some anecdotes about the 12 animals that make up the Chinese zodiac with children to make Lunar New Year exciting.
One story that relates to the Year of the Rabbit is as follows: The Jade Emperor decided to throw a party and announced that the order of the zodiac would depend on who showed up first.
At dawn, the rabbit bounded off, and when it got to the Jade Emperor’s house, it was empty. No additional animals could be seen.
The rabbit ran off to a corner and curled up for a snooze, proud of its agility. Three additional animals, including the ox, which the rabbit enjoyed, making fun of for being slow, had arrived when the bunny awoke.
After the stolid ox, the rat, and the tiger in the zodiac cycle, the rabbit came in fourth place.
Several fantastic books for youngsters that describe the various customs surrounding the Lunar New Year are also available.
Play with crafts
Doing crafts using Lunar New Year cutouts together as a family can be relaxing. Making red paper lanterns or creating animals out of paper plates are a couple more suggestions.
After all, you have a large cast of creatures to cut out, sketch, and color, including lions, dragons, and rabbits.
Together, spend time
The main focus of the holiday should be spending time with family. I am reassured that my children are still embracing their uniqueness as I watch them partake in Lunar New Year customs.
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