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10 things you may not know about the Chinese New Year



The Chinese New Year is reminiscent of red-lighted visions of dancing dragons and lanterns, and whether you're celebrating in the traditional way or watching from afar, the good news of the new lunar year is a familiar feeling.

While the Chinese New Year is a [lunar new year] the history of the New Lunar Year and its various celebrations is much more complicated. All Chinese New Year celebrations are celebrations of the Lunar New Year, but certainly not all Lunar New Year celebrations are traditional Chinese.

Learn a little more about this widely acclaimed event with these five quick facts.

. 1 The beginning of the new lunar year changes every year.

  Dragon and lion dancers perform on the streets in Manila, Philippines.

Dragon and lion dancers perform on the streets in Manila, Philippines.

Jes Aznar / Getty Images

The lunar calendar is based on the lunar cycles, so the date of the Chinese New Year and its festival changes every year. Technically it falls during the second new moon after the winter solstice. Although it falls on February 5 of this year, the first day of the new lunar year can be anywhere from January 21 to February 19. China had introduced the Gregorian calendar late and officially changed it in 1912 (though he did not use it until 1929). but the lunar calendar is more important on a spiritual and cultural level. All of the traditional lunar calendar holidays, such as the winter solstice, are still celebrated in China, and many people in China still calculate their age and birthday according to the lunar calendar.

. 2 The lunar calendar does not quite match the lunar calendar.

  Filipinos flock to a local temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in Manila, Philippines.

Filipinos flock to a local temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in Manila, Philippines.

Jes Aznar / Getty Images

The New Lunar New Year may indicate a few different things. The broadest meaning refers exclusively to the lunar calendar, which is calculated in monthly cycles based on the phases of the moon (for example, the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar). However, some new lunar years are based on lunisolar calendars, which include both the moon phase and the time in the solar year. The Gregorian calendar – and also the Chinese, the Hebrew and the old Babylonian calendars – are lunar calendars. This explains why holidays such as Easter, Ramadan or Rosh Hashanah in the Gregorian calendar – and the Chinese New Year – are different days each year.

. 3 Lunar New Year celebrations date back to the 14th century BC. Back.

  On Hang Luoc Road, the Lunar New Year Fair, a popular Hanoi people's shopping spot, Vietnam, market visitors take photos of bronze pig statues.

Market- On Hang Luoc Road Lunar New Year Fair, a popular shopping spot for people in Hanoi, Vietnam, visitors pose with photos of bronze piggy.

Linh Pham / Getty Images

Probably the most famous celebration of the new lunar year comes from China. Although it is difficult to determine the origin, the celebration of the New Year in China began in the 14th century BC. When a solar-based calendar was introduced around the solstice. With that, the Chinese began to use lunar and solar calendars at the same time. However, the agrarian society knew that the harvest of each year went through the same cycles, and the new harvest year (hence called the Spring Festival) was celebrated during the Shang dynasty. Only much later, in the 2nd century BC Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty set the celebration on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar.

. 4 It's not just a Chinese festival.

  During the Grebeg Sudiro Festival in Solo City, Central Java, Indonesia, people gather on the street. The Grebeg Sudiro Festival takes place as a prelude to the Chinese New Year; People bring offers known as Gunungan.

During the Grebeg Sudiro Festival in Solo City, Central Java, Indonesia, people crowd the streets. The Grebeg Sudiro Festival takes place as a prelude to the Chinese New Year; People bring sacrifices known as Gunungan, including Chinese sugar cake piled up in the mountains, paraded on the streets, followed by Chinese and Javanese performers.

Celebration after the new lunar year. There are New Year celebrations in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and more. In fact, Sydney, Australia, has renamed its festivals "Chinese" to "Lunar New Year Festival" this year to make the many Asian cultures celebrating with a lunar calendar more inclusive.

. 5 Lunar New Year is an official holiday in California.

  Children practice drumming before the start of the Chinese New Year Festival and parade in San Francisco, California.

Children practice their drumming before the start of the Chinese New Year Festival and parade in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

California is not only the most populous state in the union, but according to the latest census data, it also has the largest Asian population in any state. at around 6 million. Because Asian culture is so popular in California, former Governor Jerry Brown signed a law in 2018 that recognized the Lunar New Year as the official state holiday.

"Millions of people in California celebrate the traditions of the Lunar New Year, which are transmitted from one generation to the next," Dr. Richard Pan, a senator and co-author of the law. "This bill will help identify the rich history of one of the world's most celebrated events, and show the API [Asian and Pacific Islander] community in our state that we're all part of the California family."


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