Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, represents the desire for new life. In 2021, the Lunar New Year falls on Friday, Feb. 12; beginning a year of the Ox. The Lunar New Year celebration is from Feb. 12-17. The date of the Lunar New Year is determined by the Lunar calendar, as the holiday falls on the second new moon after the Dec. 21 winter solstice.
The Lunar New Year can be tracked back 3,500 years ago with stories and myths, religious ceremonies and social celebrations through the Shang, Zhou, Han, and Wei-Qing dynasties. The festival has progressed over time and with that so have the customs.
There are four main ways the Lunar New Year is celebrated today
- Gathering with families on Lunar New Year’s Eve and having dinner together, which is called the “reunion dinner.”
- Decorating, which consists of red Chinese lanterns, red couplets on door frames and red New Year pictures that illustrate images of prosperity on buildings. The color red symbolizes luck, joy and happiness.
- Fireworks and firecrackers at midnight on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
- Visiting with others to exchange gifts and red envelopes. The red envelopes contain gifted money, and are typically given to children and retirees. Public celebrations often include a dragon, lion dances and imperial performances that are held in parks and temple fairs. They commonly offer a variety of Chinese snacks and goods for the community to enjoy.
As we continue to be virtual in 2021, we encourage you to find creative ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year, whether it be exchanging little gifts and treats or decorating with your own family. We wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year!