Chinese New Year 2024: When is Lunar New Year? Know date, history, significance, traditions of the Year of the Dragon
Chinese New Year 2024: The festival is marked with pomp by many Asian countries. Learn all about its date, significance, history, traditions and more inside.
Many Asian countries are gearing up to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Often called the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, it is the most important holiday in China and many other Asian communities. While China calls the Lunar New Year as the Spring Festival, it is known as Tet in Vietnam and Seollal in Korea. It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later on the first full moon. Because the lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, the dates of the holiday vary slightly each year, falling between late January and mid-February. If you are gearing up to celebrate this auspicious occasion, here's all you need to know about it.
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Chinese New Year 2024 Date: When is the Lunar New Year?
This year, the Chinese New Year falls on February 10. Generally, the festivities often last for 15 days, beginning a week ahead of the New Year. People make festive cakes and puddings to boost their growth in the upcoming year, hang red banners (Nian) at their homes, clean their homes, and hold family reunion dinners on Lunar New Year's Eve.
Chinese New Year 2024 History, Significance and Traditions:
A famous mythology says that there was a well-known underwater beast called Nian who used to crawl onto the land every New Year's Eve to feast on human flesh and attack villages. It is said that Nian feared the colour red, loud noises, and fire. To ward off the monster, people put up red paper dragons on their doors, burned red lanterns all night and set off firecrackers. To this day, the Lunar New Year celebration is centred around removing bad luck and welcoming prosperity. Therefore, red is considered an auspicious colour to ring in the New Year. People dress up in red attire, decorate their homes with red paper lanterns and use red envelopes to give loved ones and friends money for the new year, symbolizing good wishes for the year ahead.
On the first two days of the New Year, people travel to visit their friends and family to exchange presents, gift fruits, and exchange conversations. On day three, people visit temples. On the seventh day, people's birthday (Jan Jant) is celebrated as it is marked as the day the Chinese mother goddess, Nuwa, created humanity. Lastly, on day fifteen, people attend the Lantern Festival (February 24). The Lantern Festival celebrates the first full moon of the year. People light lanterns to ward off darkness from their lives. It is also dubbed the Chinese Valentine's Day because, in ancient society, young girls used to go out to admire lanterns and meet boys.
Additionally, for the New Year's Eve dinner people include fish, puddings, longevity noodles, rice cakes, sweet soup dumplings, and dumplings on the menu.
Why is it the Year Of The Dragon?
According to the Chinese zodiac, each year honours an animal. The circle of 12 animals - the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig - measure the cycles of time. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese zodiac is slightly different, honouring the cat instead of the rabbit and the buffalo instead of the ox. According to legend, it is believed that God invited all animals to bid him farewell before he departed from Earth and only 12 of them showed up.