On February 12th, we’ll summon in a new lunar year. For those unfamiliar, Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun. Depending on when the lunar cycle ends, the holiday falls in January or February.
As the New York Times explains, “A solar year—the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun—lasts around 365 days, while a lunar year, or 12 full cycles of the Moon, is roughly 354 days.” As with the Jewish lunisolar calendar, “a month is still defined by the moon, but an extra month is added periodically to stay close to the solar year.”
Welcome to the Year of the Ox.
Each lunar year is characterized by an animal of the Chinese Zodiac, which is also based upon the lunar calendar. This year is represented by the (you guessed it) ox. And there’s good news in that – the ox is described as grounded, loyal, gentle, and trustworthy. We’ll definitely take that after an, err… tumultuous 2020. Note, the complete outlook is based upon the zodiac sign of your birth year in correlation to the ox. You can read on that here.
Where does Lunar New Year Originate?
The celebrations and customs of Lunar New Year date back thousands of years, formed by ancient legends. The most formative is the legend of Nian, a monster who was said to eat livestock, people (especially children!), and wreak havoc in the town. Legend has it, it was discovered the beast was afraid of loud sounds, the color red, and fire. Through these methods, the townspeople defeated Nian. Thus, the traditions of fireworks and lavish displays of red were passed down from generation to generation to ward off evil spirits.
It’s important to note that Lunar New Year is closely associated with Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, but Lunar New Year isn’t only observed in China. It’s celebrated across several countries and other territories in Asia, including South Korea and Singapore.
Lunar New Year Traditions
Welcome Good Luck
Lunar New Year is centered around luck. The goal of the 15 days is to welcome in the good luck and shake off the bad for the year ahead.
To Clean or Not To Clean
There are several rituals you should not do on the first day of the new year, like clean your home, do laundry, or cut/wash your hair. In doing so, you’re wiping away the good luck. Regarding hair cutting, you’re actually supposed to stay away from scissors altogether!
Be Mindful of Color
Steer clear white or black, as these colors signify mourning. Instead, wear red, the color of luck and energy. Which is a natural transition to the next tradition…
Give Red Envelopes
Today’s custom of giving red envelopes stems from the tale of 8 lucky coins that protected a small child from evil spirits on the night of the new year. Be mindful of the meaning behind the money traditions and use this guide as a reference.
Our Lunar New Year Gift Picks
Starting with the most obvious, the Lucky Flower Print by Zhi Ling Lee is a gorgeous design inspired by the lucky red envelope. Send a “red envelope” to your friends, family, and co-workers to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the most adorable fashion.
Send the gift of relaxation and wellness! The Whole Rose Flower Tea is sure to extend wishes for good health in the coming year.
Chinese culture indicates that good things should come in pairs. These Mini Copper Mugs are the perfect “cheers!” to the new year.
When in doubt, send chocolate (should we trademark that?)… Our Hand-Dipped Chocolate will start your person’s year off on the right note.
Thought you couldn’t send a champagne toast in the mail? Think again! These Champagne Bears from Sugarfina are the perfect way to “pop a bottle” to ring in the new year.
You can never go wrong with the gift of self-care. Bonus.,. it’s red!