Explaining the Customs and Traditions of Lunar New Year

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Explaining the Customs and Traditions of Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is one of the most widely celebrated festivals around the world and celebrated by hundreds of millions of people each year. In Asian cultures it marks the start of a new annual cycle so it’s marked with celebrations to generate good fortune for the year ahead.

 

What is Lunar New Year and When Does It Occur?

Lunar New Year has been observed for millennia throughout the East where countries follow the lunar/solar cycles, unlike the Gregorian calendar used in the West which has no relation to the natural cycles.

Lunar New Year takes place on the first day of the lunar calendar, usually occurring between late January and late February. Lunar New Year is also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival as it heralds the approach of Spring, a time of renewal in the Northern hemisphere at that time of year, although Asian cultures the world over celebrate it at that time.

 

The Cultural Significance of Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is considered one of the most important holy days in Asian countries. Traditionally it’s a time for families to gather to celebrate life and honour their ancestors.

The first two weeks of the new lunar calendar is considered most auspicious for starting new projects as the moon waxes to full but the new year festivities occur during the first week between the new moon and first quarter phases.

Customs to celebrate include big and bold displays that start the new year with a bang – literally! With fireworks and parades featuring human dragons that signify the awakening of life force, in both the land and her people just as the meridians of energy within the Earth and our bodies are described as dragon lines.

While different countries celebrate with varying customs, some of these include the following…

∙ Special lunar cakes are made that contain whole eggs symbolising fertility and new beginnings
Eating fish as it represents abundance but they leave leftovers as this signifies having more than enough for the coming year
Family members gift red envelopes filled with money to children as a symbol to wish them good luck throughout the year
People exchange gifts such as food, plants or jewellery to bless loved ones with abundance, growth and good fortune respectively
Clearing energy in their home to dispel the past and reconfiguring Feng shui to harness the changing element of the year ahead

 

Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year

∙ Consider going to Chinatown or the Asian precinct on your nearest city and having a Yum Cha banquet with your family and friends
∙ Wear red, the colour of life force or paint your hands and feet with henna
Open your windows and clear the energies of the past annual cycle by clapping your hands, using chimes or playing high vibe music
Wear flowers or create an altar or flower mandala to welcome in beauty and grace
Write down your intentions for the coming year and share them around the dinner table, then each pull a fortune cookie

 

Resources

To harness the power of every new moon to consciously process the past and set clear intentions for the coming month, join me for my 13 Moons program for women here

To find out more about the energies of the coming year, Year of the Water Rabbit according to Chinese astrology, read my article here

 

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