Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is a major holiday in many East Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The holiday marks the first day of the lunar calendar and typically falls between January 21st and February 20th. It is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods.
In China, the Lunar New Year is celebrated for 15 days, with the most important customs and traditions taking place on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. These include family reunions, the exchange of red envelopes containing money, and the preparation of traditional foods such as dumplings, fish, and glutinous rice cakes. Lion and dragon dances, fireworks, and parades are also common during the celebration.
In Japan, the Lunar New Year is not as widely celebrated as in other East Asian countries. It is known as “oshogatsu” and is a time for families to come together and eat traditional foods such as mochi (sweet glutinous rice cakes) and ozoni (a soup with mochi and vegetables).
In Korea, the Lunar New Year is known as “Seollal” and is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods such as tteokguk (a rice cake soup) and ddeokguk (a soup made with dumplings). It is also a time for ancestor worship and the playing of traditional games.
In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is known as “Tet” and is the most important holiday of the year. It is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods such as banh chung (sticky rice cakes) and banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cakes). The holiday is also marked by the giving of lucky money to children and the burning of incense and offerings to ancestors.
This year, Lunar New Year was celebrated over the weekend and we welcomed the year of the rabbit in China and Korea and the year of the Cat in Vietnam. Good luck in the new year and burn some incense if you get a chance.
Phrase of the Day:
- Akemashite Omedetō Gozaimasu: 明けましておめでとうございます (あけましておめでとうございます) This is the most common and formal way to say “happy new year” in Japanese. It can be used with anyone, including strangers and superiors.
- Shinnen omedetō: 新年おめでとう (しんねんおめでとう) This phrase is less formal and can be used with friends and family.
- Yoi otoshi wo: 良いお年を (よいおとしを) This phrase is casual and can be used with close friends or family. It is similar to saying “have a good year” in English.
- Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu: 今年もよろしくお願いします (ことしもよろしくおねがいします) This phrase can be translated as “please take care of me again this year” it is a polite way to say “happy new year” and often used in formal settings.