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Lunar New Year – What Does It Really Mean?

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Lunar New Year 2021 was celebrated on February 12th.  It is also called the Spring Festival.

Some people call it the Chinese New Year, however, it is not solely a Chinese Holiday because other Asian counties celebrate it, as well. It is commemorated as a holiday in Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, and the Philippines.

Why is it in February and not in January?

It’s called a Lunar New Year because it is the first new moon in the unisolar or lunar calendar.

In the Lunar calendar, a month is determined by the moon, but an extra thirty days is added to stay close to the solar year. This is why the new year falls on a different day within that month-long window each year (Source:  New York Times).

An entire Lunar year is 354 days. The accurate term is Lunar New Year.  Yet, it is called a Chinese New Year because of the myth associated with it.

The origin

The Lunar New Year originated a thousand years ago from the legend of Nian (in Chinese mythology). It is a hideous monster that devours human flesh on New Year’s Day.

In the myth, the monster is terrified of the color red and despises loud noises.

Hence, during Chinese New Year in China, there is a dragon dancing to the beat of the loud drums, with red lanterns hanging on the streets while firecrackers are being lit.

For them, the loud noise is also a way to combat negative energies and misfortune all throughout the year.

Photo Credit: Vladislav Vasnetsov, Pexels

The food

The Lunar New Year is also a way to reunite with families since it is marked by a seven-day vacation period in China.

During the New Year’s celebratory dinner, the food that the host will serve is very important.

Each food has meaning, and they believe that consuming them on each special day will bring them prosperity, wealth, and good health.

Photo Credit: Abby Kihano, Pexels

These are the regular Lunar New Year staples served in the household during this special time:

  • Noodles – as a symbol of long life and happiness
  • Glutinous rice cakes – as a symbol of high income
  • Spring rolls- for wealth
  • Steamed fish – for an increase in prosperity
  • Dumplings – for wealth
  • Tangerines – for vibrance and wealth

During this celebration, older generations hand out red envelopes with money to the younger generations, usually to children and grandchildren.

Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions, Pexels

The main theme?

It’s pretty obvious that the main them every Lunar New year is to attract good luck and counter bad luck throughout the year. This also comes with an array of superstitions.

Photo Credit: Dany and Devyn Snow, Pexels

Eastern astrology, your animal sign, and the significance of the Lunar New Year

Eastern Astrology is related to Feng Shui-the energies of the earth, the elements (fire, water, metal, earth, wood), and the animal signs.

There are twelve animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac namely: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each of them has different attributes and every person has a different fate or destiny every year.

There will be a new reigning animal sign per year.  This year, we have the Metal Ox.

The animal sign is a symbol of power in Chinese belief.  This year everyone is hopeful that it will be a fruitful one.

Where did the twelve zodiac animals originate?

The twelve zodiac animals came from the Heavenly Gate Race Story

The Jade Emperor sent an immortal being on earth. He spread the word that Emperor was searching for twelve animals to be his guards.  The first one that reached the Heavenly Gate received a better rank. The Rat came first and the Ox was second.

How does your zodiac animal sign affect you?

Each animal has its own weaknesses, strengths, and qualities. It affects your personal traits as well as compatibility in relationships.  It is best to understand the characteristics of the twelve animals.

For example, when talking about Oxes, they are known to be firm, honest, trustworthy, and hardworking.

Whether you believe in Chinese/Eastern Astrology or not, it is a fun experience to learn about your zodiac sign and how comparable you are to it.

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