Lunar New Year is a highly celebrated holiday and one of the most important times of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures. The celebration lasts for fifteen days, beginning with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ending with the first full moon. This Lunar New Year falls on February 10 and will be ringing in the Year of the Dragon.
This special holiday is celebrated in diverse ways throughout the Asian diaspora, and is a time for families to get together to celebrate a prosperous new year and honor their ancestors. It is most popular in China where it is also known as the Spring Festival.
Foods and traditions vary across cultures. In China, some foods families eat include dumplings, which symbolize unity, and fish, which represents abundance. Korean food traditions include New Year’s rice cake and dishes with five grains. Vietnamese traditions include create five-fruit platters and other special foods such as rice cakes with pork and beans wrapped in bamboo leaves, called banh chung.
Some traditions include cleaning the home, to start the new year fresh and welcome good luck, some families hold ceremonies and have offerings for their ancestors, others hang red paper calligraphy, elders may give out envelopes with money, and fireworks are popped.
Watch Britannica’s video, The origin and traditions of the Lunar New Year, explained.
Learn more information about this special celebration with your little ones by checking out these books at Thinkery’s reading nook located outside our Light Lab gallery.
- LunarTale by Stella Hong
- The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang
- Grumpy New Year by Katrina Moore
- How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace
- Chinese New Year Colors by Richard Lo
- Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim