8 Fun Facts for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year, observed by many non-Chinese Asian countries and Asian diaspora, is widely celebrated in countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Read on to discover some fun facts you might find interesting!

Lunar New Year has no set date

As the name suggests, the lunar calendar depends on the moon. Because of this, the date of Lunar New Year changes each year, but it will always fall sometime between 21 January and 20 February. This year it falls on 12 February.

Children receive lucky money in red envelopes

In Vietnam, this tradition is called “Li xi”, and refers to the act of “Giving money to children to welcome the new age on the first day of Lunar New Year”. It is a small amount of money that can bring good fortune to the upcoming year. In Chinese belief, this money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to the kids.

Clocks are the worst gifts

Giving a clock (送鐘/送钟, sòng zhōng) is often taboo, especially to the elderly as the term for this act is a homophone or sounds similar with the term for the act of attending another’s funeral, “to send off for one’s end” (送終/送终, sòngzhōng).

All decorations are in red

Other than red being the symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, it is also believed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. There is a Chinese myth about the monster Nian, who was scared off using three things: the colour red, fire, and noise.

Dumplings for every meal, every day

The reason is, that the dumplings are made in the shape of China’s ancient money – ingots. But not many people do that anymore because you can have too much of even the most delicious foods. So most people will eat dumplings during the New Year’s Eve dinner while others will eat them for the first breakfast only.

Most Asian Hair Salons close during Lunar New Year

There is a belief that holding sharp objects such as a pair of scissors will cut your stream of wealth and success.

No negative words allowed

All words with negative connotations are forbidden during Lunar New Year! These include: death, sick, empty, pain, ghost, poor, break, kill and more. The reason behind this should be obvious. You wouldn’t want to jinx yourself or bring those misfortunes onto you and your loved ones.

No showering, sweeping or throwing out garbage allowed!

To make sure you don’t wash away the good luck, showering is avoided New Year’s Day. Sweeping and throwing out garbage isn’t allowed before the fifth day. On the other hand, there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This day is to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good.