Happy Lunar New Year! February 7 marks the start of the Year of the Monkey, and while it might seem unusual to ring in a new year in February, there are tons of people around the world celebrating. Not familiar with the holiday? Get to know more about it right here!
If you’re seeing dancing dragons or red paper lanterns all over the place, no need to be confused — it’s Chinese New Year! Otherwise known as Lunar New Year, the moon-based holiday is celebrated primarily by Asian countries, but that doesn’t mean other nations aren’t taking part in the excitement too. The Lunar New Year has become a worldly celebration, as it marks the first day of a secular year that is determined by cycles of the moon. Find out some quick facts about what exactly is being celebrated below!
1. Although it’s commonly known as Chinese New Year, locals don’t refer to it as so.
Those who take part in the festivities in China call it Lunar New Year, as the lunar calendar is what determines the dates. The celebrations surrounding the holiday are called the Spring Festival.
2. Rather than having one day to ring in a new year, the Lunar New Year has 15.
The Chinese New Year celebrations begin the day before the start of the new year and go until the 15th day of the new year, meaning there’s plenty of time to party! In that time, the New Year is honored with parades, horse races, bazaars, time of worship, and other activities.
3. Despite its Chinese association, they aren’t the only ones who celebrate it.
During the several weeks of observance, many other East Asia, Southeast Asian, and South Asian countries celebrate the occasion, including Korea and Vietnam. Plus, even non-Asian countries take part — Australia lit up its famous Sydney Opera House in red to honor the holiday, and London’s celebration is the biggest outside of Asia!
4. It’s as much of a homecoming as it is a holiday.
In 2013, CNN reported that nearly 30 million Koreans visited their hometowns during the Lunar New Year. Talk about a traffic-creating celebration!
5. Fireworks aren’t just for show during the Lunar New Year.
While fireworks are a spectacular addition to any holiday, they actually help keep away monsters in the Chinese New Year celebrations. According to legend, a half-dragon, half-lion monster named “Nian” comes out of hiding during this time, but his sensitive ears mean that firecrackers are a great way to keep him away. In that case, let the fireworks boom! Happy Chinese New Year!
Are you celebrating the Lunar New Year, HollywoodLifers? Tell us what you’ll be doing to commemorate the holiday!