At Wild Card PR we are on a journey to celebrate other cultures and educate ourselves on the correct language and dialogue used when talking about it.

And with the start of the Lunar New Year we wanted to give an insight into this significant festive celebration.

The Lunar New Year is a holiday tied to the lunar-solar calendar. The dates of the holiday vary slightly from year to year, beginning sometime between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars. This year it’s on the 1st of February!

The celebration is observed as a time to honour household, heavenly deities and ancestors. Countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia and plenty of other East Asian countries are big on the celebration. Hence why Lunar New Year should be the appropriate name and not Chinese New Year!

Fun fact: Every year represents a different zodiac animal. This year it’s the tiger!

Approximately 10 days before the beginning of the new lunar year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck that might be lingering inside, a custom called “sweeping of the grounds.” Traditionally, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honouring ancestors.

The Lunar New Year is a time of beliefs. Those who celebrate don’t take out the trash or clean on the first day, as doing so is said to wash away your luck and prosperity. The second day, considered the beginning of the year, is spent with family. The third day is seen as a day prone to arguments, so visiting family and friends is avoided. Wearing dark colours should also be avoided, go bright or go home!

On New Year’s Day, family and friends often receive red envelopes containing small amounts of money. This is often given by an elder, traditionally a married person and/or someone who is already in the workforce.

Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night colourful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods are served. Certain dishes are eaten during the Lunar New Year for their symbolic meaning.

The origins of the Lunar New Year festival are thousands of years old and are steeped in legends. One legend is that of Nian, a hideous beast believed to feast on human flesh on New Year’s Day. Because Nian feared the colour red, loud noises, and fire, red paper decorations were pasted to doors, lanterns were burned all night, and firecrackers were lit to frighten the beast away.

From all of us at Wild Card PR, we wish you a prosperous and marvellous Lunar New Year! Do you celebrate Lunar New Year? How will you be spending time with your family and friends this year?