Beijing, 31 January 2022 (TDI): China is celebrating the Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is one of the most significant festivities of the year amongst East and Southeast Asian cultures.

They include Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities, among others. The celebrations usually last for multiple days. In 2022, Lunar New Year falls on February 1.

Lunar New Year in China is known as the Spring Festival or Chūnjié in Mandarin. However, the Koreans call it Seollal while the Vietnamese refer to it as Tết. The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying shared greetings on the occasion.

The occasion calls for feasting as well as honoring household and heavenly deities, along with ancestors. The New Year generally commences with the first new moon that appears between the end of January and spans the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar.

Each Lunar Year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals. These animals are incorporated in the rotation of 12 signs along the apparent course of the sun through the cosmos.

The animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Aside from the animals, the five elements i.e. earth, water, fire, wood, and metal are also delineated onto the traditional lunar calendar.

Each Lunar Year is connected with an animal that is in tune with an element. 2022 is the year of the water tiger. It comes up after every 60 years. The water tiger represents strength, bravery, and clearing away.

Every community differently celebrates the Lunar New Year be it the Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese. Nevertheless, a commonality that each share is to celebrate the occasion traditionally to signify prosperity, plenitude, and togetherness.

Celebrations in China

Chinese New Year celebration can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty in the 14th century B.C. Emperor Wu of Han endorsed the practice of carrying out rituals on the first day of the Chinese year.

Fish is commonly included as the last course of a New Year’s Eve repast, among Chinese cultures, for good luck. Chinese New Year’s menu also features dishes like moon-shaped rice cakes, glutinous rice ball soup, and dumplings. Occasionally, a coin is hidden inside a dumpling for good luck.

The Lantern Festival concludes the festivities of the New Year. Aside from that, dances, parades, games, and fireworks mark the finale of the holiday. This year, the Chinese Taikonauts aboard the Tiangong space station also joined the festivities.

Celebrations in Korea

In Korea, celebrations of Seollal or the New Year were officially revived in 1989 while North Korea began celebrating the Lunar New Year in 2003, according to the lunar calendar. As part of celebrations, North Koreans visit statues of founder Kim Il-sung, and his son Kim Jong Il.

Both North and South Koreans celebrate the occasion with staple foods like sliced rice cake soup known as Tteokguk. Instead of giving money in red envelopes, like in Vietnam and China, elders give New Year’s money in white and patterned envelopes.

Celebrations in Vietnam

In Vietnam, homes are decorated with flowers such as chrysanthemums, peach blossoms, orchids, and red gladiolas as well as kumquat trees. Just like China, travels are heavy as family members amass to celebrate the new year.

A feast is prepared that includes five-fruit platters to glorify ancestors. Tết or New Year celebrations also include a rice cake made with mung beans, pork, and other ingredients wrapped in bamboo leaves. The traditional delicacy is called bánh chưng.

Likewise, mứt tết snacks are also commonly served to guests. Mứt tết are made from roasted seeds or dried fruits mixed with sugar.

Join in the celebrations to welcome the much anticipated Year of Tiger.China celebrates Spring Festival, Year of Tiger