These Are How We Celebrate Lunar New Year in 2019
Lunar New Year is a big festival for us! I want to share with you what is Lunar New Year means to us and how we celebrate Lunar New Year.
What is Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year (农历新年), also known as Chinese New Year (华人新年, CNY) and Chinese Spring Festival (春节). The traditional festival of more than a thousand years holds the most significant position for Chinese people all over the world. It symbolizes the new hope brought about by the new year.
What will my family do now at this festival? We will clean and decorate the house, have a wonderful reunion dinner with family, worshipping deities, set off firecrackers and gathering with relatives and friends. The celebration lasts from the first day of the lunar calendar to the fifteenth day.
The Widely Known Chinese New Year Legend
Folklore, people called the new year is “guonian” (meaning “passing a year”). It is said that the “nian” (year, 年兽) was a strong monster which was ferocious and ate people in the midnight. The ancestors of Yanhuang gathered with their families to fight the monster.
In countless struggles and fights, Yanhuang found that the monster was afraid of red color, fire and loud noises. Therefore, people place red couplet at the door, a bonfire is set at the front door of the house and set off firecracker to drive away the beast.
Different between Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year
Don’t be confuse, Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year are the same. Why do you hear someone call this festival as Lunar New Year? Because the Chinese have two calendars, the Gregorian calendar and the Lunar calendar.
The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world whereas the lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases. A month of the lunar calendar is 28 days long, and the first day of each month is the new moon. So you know Lunar New Year is the first day of the Lunar Calendar.
If you have Chinese friends, do you notice that the Lunar New Year is always in January or February? To keep the calendar in sync with the sun and season, an extra leap month will be added to the lunar calendar every three years. That is why this Spring Festival remains in January or February.
Lunar New Year Traditions
The traditional Lunar New Years ago, every family did a thorough house cleaning and decorating the house with couplets, upside down Fu (福) character or red lanterns. Also, people will make tofu, roast meat, kill chicken and prepare wine for celebration.
During Lunar New Year eve, my family have a great dinner together and having it until midnight. Parent give their children red envelope to ward off evil spirit or as good luck.
Afterwards, people in the past stay up all night until the next morning. The elderly stays up to show that they cherish the last year whereas the young people stay up for good health and long life of their parents.
Traditionally, the following is the first day to the 15th day of the lunar calendar, showing you how people in the past celebrated the Lunar New Year.
The Celebration from First Day to The Fifteen Day
1st Day – Wear new clothes and bring New Year Greetings to relatives.
2nd Day– Daughter-in-law goes back to her hometown to visit her parent. They can only go back once a year.
3rd Day– Gather up old friends
4th Day– Go temple to pray “Tai Sui” for wishing good luck of the year
5th Day– Start working because this day is the god of wealth’s birthday (财神).
6th Day– Clean the house. People believe good luck would be swept away if clean house before the fifth day.
7th Day– Human’s birthday. Eat noodle with 7 kinds of vegetable.
8th Day– Millet’s birthday. If the weather is fine today, means a bumper harvest this year. Vice versa.
9th Day– For Hokkienese, this day is more important than the Lunar New Year because it is the Jade Emperor’s birthday. They worship in the midnight for the health of the family on this year and wish everything goes well.
10th Day– Stone God’s birthday. It is not allowed to move stone or stone implements. Otherwise, they will not get a bumper harvest.
11th Day– The day of the son-in-law. On this day, the father-in-law set up a banquet and treat son-in-law to eat.
12th to 13th Day– People have been eating greasy foods from the first to the eleventh day. Today, people have light meals such as porridge with veggies.
14th Day– Buy red lantern and riddles for the celebration of lantern festival to be held on the next day.
15th Day– First night to see the full moon. People hang out to set off colorful lanterns, eat sweet rice ball and enjoy the day with family.
How I celebrate Lunar New Year
Fortunately, some of the traditional celebrations above remain in my family. Before the Lunar New Year, we clean house and donate unwanted things. Seafood, enough foods, dry foods and beverages will be bought in advance for New Year’s Eve reunion dinner and guests who will visit my home.
On New Year’s Eve morning, mother and I prepare foods to worship God and ancestors. In the evening, I have a great dinner with family. Parents give me a red envelope and say their blessings. Also, I speak out my blessing in return. After that, we worship the Jade empires outside the house in late night, countdown and enjoy the fireworks around!
In the past, I stayed up late with siblings on New Year’s Eve, which means that we were waiting for the arrival of the God of Wealth. But now, since I resume to work on the third day, so parent ask me to sleep instead.
On the first day of the new year, I put on new clothes and visit relatives with family. The next day, my family and I returned to mother’s hometown.
The seventh day is the day of Yusheng (lo hei). Together with family, we mix the ingredients of Yusheng and say blessings loudly while mixing! This activity is famous in Malaysia and Singapore.
Since I’m Hokkienese, the ninth day is an important day for me. Worshipping deity start from the evening of the eighth day until the next day.
The duration of Lunar New Year is fifteen day, so we meet up with friends and relatives to play cards, mahjong and chit chat within this period.
This is how I celebrate Lunar New Year!
The Chinese New Year Activities You Can Experience
Such a long celebration and a strong New Year’s atmosphere sounds amazing to you, right? How can you celebrate Chinese New Year? Here’re the activities you can go to each country on different dates. What you need to do is find your favorite country and make the trip!
1. New Year Light Show in Penang
It’s quite a spring festival in Penang! From 7 pm to 12 am, the 125-year Kek Lok Si has a light show every year in the Lunar New Year. In 2019, a total of more than 10,000 LED lights shine together.
Date: 4th Feb – 19th Feb 2019
Address: 1000-L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
2. Dragon and Lion Dance
Have you heard of dragon and lion dance? It is an indispensable performance during the Lunar New Year. Special lion dance in the Sea at Aquaria KLCC on this year.
Date: 1st Feb – 17th Feb 2019
Address: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Pageant on Immortals in Johor Bahru (Johor Chingay)
On the twentieth, a festive in Johor Bahru is never faded. A 142-years Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple, hold the pageant on immortals every year, and there were 500,000 people joined last year. This immortal is already listed as a national cultural heritage.
There is a saying for the Chinese people in Johor Bahru, the Lunar New Year is only over after the Johor Chingay.
Date: 25th Feb 2019 (7 pm to 1 am)
Address: 8 Km trip to walk around the city, you can view the Johor Chingay in front of City Square Johor Bahru shopping mall.
4. Toss Your Oranges for Mr/Miss Right
The fifteenth is Chinese Valentine day. This traditional event is held throughout Malaysia, you can find your Mr and Miss Right.
Activates can be found at
- Taman Jaya in Selangor (in front of AMcorp Mall)
- Pacific Place at Ara Damansara in Selangor
- Kwan Yin Yong Temple in Perak (怡保观音洞)
- Kota Cornwallis in Penang
Date: 11th Feb 2019
Numerous Lunar New Year events you can experience in Shanghai such as Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Shanghai Wild Animal Park, China Maritime Museum and Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
1. Temple Fair in Beijing
Visit the temple fair is a must do in China. The temple fair in the Temple of Earth attracts more than a million people to join the celebration. It’s authentic folk and traditional folk customs are well known in Beijing. Various Lunar New Year’s performances, the show of Intangible Cultural Heritage, traditional street foods, interactive games, etc bring you to understand the culture of Chinese New Year.
Date: 5th Feb – 9th Feb 2019
Address: Andingmen Outer St, AnDingMen, Dongcheng Qu, China, 100011 (东城区安定门外大街地坛公园)
2. Lunar New Year in Disney Shanghai
The Shanghai Disney theme changed clothes and celebrate the Lunar New Year with traditional New Year decorations. The event name as “Wonderful Chinese Lunar New Year”. Mickey and his friends are wearing Tang suits to play drum and dance to welcome you. New Year firework show will be held on 4 Feb to 10 Feb 2019 and 19 Feb 2019.
Date: 4 Feb – 10 Feb 2019, 19 Feb 2019
Address: Chuanshan New Town, Pudong New District, Shanghai, China.
3. The fifteenth in Beijing Mentougou (门头沟元宵古幡会)
Want to experience the activities of ancient worship? This is the traditional performance of Beijing Mentougou for more than 500 years. It is one of China’s intangible cultural heritage. It can be reached within a 2-hour drive from Beijing city.
Date: 2nd Mar – 3rd Mar 2019
Address: Mentougou Qu, Beijing Shi, China (门头沟区千军台村、大台村)
For Koreans, Lunar New Year’s Day, commonly known as Seollal, occurs twice in a year. One is the first day of the lunar calendar, and the other is the first day of the Gregorian calendar.
1. Seollal in Fun Park
During the Lunar New Year, you can enjoy Seollal-themed events like sledging, parades and light shows in Lotte World, Everland or Seoul Land.
2. Experience Korea Traditional Activities
National Folk Museum of Korea located in Gyeongbokgung Palace. During Seollal, National Folk Museum of Korea is drawing up events both locals and foreigners can enjoy this Lunar New Year. They offer a variety range of hands-on programs and exhibitions for visitors of all ages to enjoy, such as arts and crafts as well as traditional folk games. If you are a foodie, you can try making tteokguk, a soup made from glutinous rice cake called tteok.
Date: 6th Feb – 7th Feb 2019
Address: 37 Samcheong-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
3. Korean Folk Village
The Korean Folk Village opens throughout the weekend from February 2nd to 6th, with events throughout the day, including folk games and traditional Korean music performances such as kite flying, fortune telling, rice cake pounding, and traditional performances, dances, tightrope walking, and horseback martial. It is one of the UNESCO-designated Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village.
Date: 2nd Feb – 6th Feb 2019 (10 am – 5:30 pm)
Address: 90 Minsokchon-ro, Sanggal-dong, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Vietnamese call Lunar New Year is Tet Festival or simply Tet (full name is Tet Nguyen Dan).
1. Enjoy Lunar New Year’s Eve Firework in Hanoi
Fireworks will light up the Hanoi sky to welcome the Lunar New Year, which falls on the Tet Eve, February 4, 2019, at five key areas across Hanoi.
Date: 8th Feb – 10th Feb 2019
Address: Hoan Kiem Lake, Thong Nhat Park, Van Quan Lake, Lac Long Quan Flower Garden, My Dinh Stadium
2. Watch “Fire Dragon” in Dong Da Festival
The fifth day is a victorious festival, the citizens of Hanoi flock to Dong Da Mount in the southwest of the capital to celebrate Dong Da Festival and commemorate the victory of the invading Chinese forces. The hills in the area are actually burial mounds, covering the remains of over 200,000 Chinese soldiers on the battlefield.
Date: 9th Feb 2019
Address: Dong Da mound, Quang Trung Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Different places have their own traditions and activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Beijing, Penang, Hanoi are good places to go if you’re planning to travel during this special period. If you can’t travel to Asia right now, but still want to experience the Lunar New Year, then the local Chinatown is the best place.
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