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TODAY IS LUNAR NEW YEAR – YEAR OF THE DRAGON

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is a vibrant and significant celebration that is observed by millions of people around the world.

 

The year 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon.The Lunar New Year is based on the lunar calendar, and it typically falls between late January to mid-February. This year, the festivities will begin today, February 10, and will last for 15 days, culminating in the Lantern Festival.

 

The event is celebrated not only in China but also in various Asian countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, and Korea, making it one of the most widely celebrated festivals globally.The Lunar New Year holds great significance in Chinese culture because it is believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness to those who celebrate it. It is a time when families come together, and people travel from all over the world to be with their loved ones.

 

Followers believe that for each Chinese zodiac sign, luck will depend largely on the positions of the Tai Sui – the collective name for the lunar deities thought to rotate parallel to and in the opposite direction of Jupiter.

 

There is a consensus on what the year means for each zodiac animal based on the positions of the stars.

 

Symbolism + Tradition

 

The festival is steeped in symbolism, and every aspect of the celebration has a special meaning. From the red decorations that symbolize good fortune and happiness to the traditional lion and dragon dances that ward off evil spirits, every tradition has a purpose.The history of Lunar New Year dates back thousands of years and has evolved over time. The festival began as a way to scare off a mythical beast called Nian, a vicious underwater beast with sharp teeth and horns, who would annually come out of the water to attack villagers on the eve of the new year.

 

As the legend goes, one year a strange old man arrived in the village and refused to run and hide from Nian. When the villagers reemerged after Nian departed they were surprised to find their village intact. The old man said he scared off Nian with loud firecrackers and wearing red clothing and hanging red banners on his door.

 

This led to the tradition of setting off firecrackers and hanging red lanterns. As time passed, the Lunar New Year became a way to honour ancestors and deities, as well as a time to pray for a bountiful harvest.That is why in communities and households around the world for the next 15 days the streets will be filled with colorful parades, dragon dances and fireworks displays.

 

Lunar New Year’s Day

 

The festivities of Lunar New Year are not complete without the special activities that take place on this day. The most popular activity is the reunion dinner, where families gather to enjoy a lavish feast of traditional dishes such as dumplings, fish, and sticky rice cakes. The menu is carefully chosen to include dishes associated with luck.

 

Another important tradition of Lunar New Year Day is for married couples to give red envelopes filled with money, known as 'hongbao,' to children and unmarried adults as a symbol of good luck and to ward off evil spirits called ‘sui’.


 

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