What is Lunar New Year

In Chinese tradition, each year is represented by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese horoscope. In 2024, from the year of the rabbit we enter the year of the dragon. But what does it all mean?

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The Lunar New Year 2024 begins on Saturday, February 10.

The celebration lasts for 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival.

In Chinese tradition, each year is represented by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese horoscope.

In 2024, from the year of the rabbit we enter the year of the dragon.

But what does it all mean?

Here's what you need to know.

Is Lunar New Year the same as Chinese New Year

Although these names are sometimes used as synonyms, there is a difference.

In China, Chinese New Year is commonly called the Spring Festival, as it marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

It is one of the four most important traditional festivals in the country and marks the beginning of the new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The name Chinese New Year refers to the New Year festivities that celebrate Chinese tradition and culture.

However, several countries in East and Southeast Asia also celebrate this holiday, but in different ways.

Lunar New Year is a more general term that includes all celebrations marking the New Year according to the lunar calendar.

In other countries, they prefer to use the name Lunar New Year rather than Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.

However, opponents of this name in China claim that the holiday is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar (the date of which indicates both the lunar month and the time of the solar year) and the historical influence of China on countries in the region.

So the choice of words can be debatable.

Where the Lunar New Year is celebrated

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This year, more than 1,5 billion people around the world will celebrate the Lunar New Year.

It also represents the largest annual migration of people in the world, because on the eve of the holidays, millions of people travel to be with family and friends.

In Vietnam, they call the New Year Tet Nguyen Dan, abbreviated Tet, meaning the morning of the first day (of the lunar year).

It is celebrated in North Korea and South Korea Seollal.

Mongolia is celebrating Tsagaan sar, and some people call it the White Moon Festival.

In China, on the eve of the New Year, thorough spring cleaning of homes is carried out.

It is believed that this clears away bad luck and allows good luck to enter the home.

Families and friends gather for a special dinner.

There is a lot of food on the table - noodles, hot pot (cauldron with various vegetables and meat), salty curls made from boiled dough, nian gao (New Year's rice cake), fish, and tangerines, which are believed to bring good luck in the coming year.

Fireworks are also organized, people dress up and hang red lanterns.

For the Lunar New Year, it is customary to give friends and family members red envelopes with money (Hongbao), who are wished well-being and happiness in the New Year.

How many days is the Chinese New Year in 2024?

The date of the new year is determined by the lunar calendar.

It falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice on December 21, usually between January 21 and February 20.

The celebration usually lasts 15 days.

It starts on the day of the new moon and lasts until the full moon.

This year, the State Council of China has determined that the Spring Festival holiday lasts a total of eight days, from February 10 to 17.

The day when Chinese New Year is celebrated is not a public holiday, but employers are recommended to count that day as a paid leave.

The origin of the Chinese New Year

It is believed that the Chinese New Year began to be celebrated in the 14th century BC, during the reign of the Shang Dynasty.

According to Chinese mythology, the New Year is associated with fighting a monster called Nian (which means "year" in Chinese).

The monster would appear on the first day of the New Year to ravage the village.

However, the villagers discovered that Nian was afraid of loud noises, bright lights and the color red.

That's why every New Year the villagers hung red lanterns and threw firecrackers to drive Nian away.

The monster was never seen again.

Chinese New Year 2024 is under the sign of which animal

In Chinese tradition, each lunar year is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese horoscope: rat, bull (buffalo), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Each animal is associated with an element - metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

It takes 60 years for each animal to go through all the elements.

The Year of the Rabbit 2024 turns into the Year of the Wood Dragon.

The Year of the Wood Dragon is once every 60 years.

The last year of the wooden kite was 1964, and before that it was 1904.

It is believed that the combination of a zodiac sign (animal) and an element determines a unique set of human characteristics that influence his life.

The dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese horoscope.

In Chinese culture, it represents good luck, strength, health, and the male principle of yang.

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Some of the famous people who were born in the year of the wooden dragon are: Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping (August 22, 1904), Jack Ma, co-founder of one of the world's largest online shopping companies Alibaba Group (September 10, 1964), Spanish artist Salvador Dali (May 11, 1904), and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (June 19, 1964).

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