In the US, we know all about the ball drop in Times Square in New York and all the fanfare that comes with New Year's celebrations. What we know about the Lunar New Year, however, is probably considerably less. Many of us aren't even aware of what countries celebrate the Lunar New Year.
The Lunar New Year is based on the Chinese Lunar calendar, which runs approximately one to two months behind our calendar. It is also of little surprise that most of the countries that adhere to the Lunar calendar are also Asian in origin.
Here are some of the countries that commonly celebrate the Lunar New Year.
China Vietnam Malaysia Philippines South Korea Singapore Thailand Japan Indonesia Tibet
There are many similarities in the spirit and festive feeling between the Lunar New Year and our traditional New Year. Yet, there are also more than a few differences too. While most New Year's celebrations in the Western Culture involve family, the Lunar New Year is centered around family. That is evidenced by the traditional start of the Lunar New Year, which begins with a family dinner slash reunion.
There is also a season referred to as Chunyun, which is a period of 40 days recognized as the time of travel as families spend the holiday visiting each other. The Lunar New Year in 2022 began on February 1st.
In the home country of the Lunar New Year, China, it is also this period is also referred to as the Spring Festival. This is aptly named as it traditionally marks the beginning of Spring, and is embolic of the festive community and family events.
In many of the same ways that our New Year has its own set of superstitions and dos and don'ts to start the New Year, the Lunar New Year also has its own book of beliefs, superstitions, and urban legends.
During the Lunar New Year, for example, it is deemed bad luck to wash your hair or clothes, as this would be akin to washing off the good fortune of the New Year. There are even words that are considered taboo during this New Year's celebration.
Yes, even on the other side of the world the calendar flips, although it may not flip at exactly the same time. And yes, those who recognize the Lunar New Year celebrate it too, although not exactly the same way we do.
One thing, however, is true regardless of what countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, and that is they all hope for good things to come in the coming year. Exactly like we do.