By Erin Xu
Lunar New Year is an important holiday celebrated by many people in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. It celebrates the beginning of a lunar calendar. Additionally, South Asia and the Middle East/West Asia have their own versions of lunisolar New Year celebrations.
Lunar New Year typically falls between mid-January and mid-February and is based on the lunar calendar. The holiday is also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival and is celebrated with various customs and traditions, including feasting, gift-giving, and lion dances – all with themes relating to the new Chinese Zodiac sign. It is considered the most essential holiday in these cultures and is often celebrated with a week-long public holiday.
The exact date of Chinese New Year changes every year, depending on the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year for 2023 falls on Sunday, Jan. 22, and celebrations last up to 16 days.
The 2023 Chinese Zodiac marks the Year of the Rabbit. 2022 has been the Year of the Tiger.
In the United States, you can find celebrations in the Chinatown areas of major metropolitan cities. It’s usually marked with vibrant parades, food, fireworks, and other cultural events.
Boston Chinatown’s Chinese New Year Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Phillips Square (corner of Harrison Avenue and Beach Street) and finishes at 3 p.m.
Erin Xu is a senior at Bedford High School.
More Lunar New Year news:
There is also a Lunar New Year celebration in the Bedford Free Public Library from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. The celebration includes a program of crafts, stories, and music in the Children’s Room.
The library is partnering with the Parents Diversity Council to present the program in the First Floor Meeting Room. Volunteers from both the local Chinese and Korean communities will be on hand to help the children with crafts and to read stories. Korea also celebrates the Lunar New Year. Students from John Glenn Middle School and Bedford High School will perform music on traditional Chinese instruments. No registration is required for this event. The library suggests it is best for children, ages five and up.
Bedford’s Chinese American Association
Here are some interesting customs for this most celebrated Asian holiday as shared by Bedford’s Chinese American Association in The Bedford Citizen in 2020:
In China, the Chinese New Year is popularly known as the Spring Festival. This is also the most important holiday for a family reunion.
Red is the most popular color of the festival. Red clothes, red lantern, red couplets, red envelopes, all celebrations, and good wishes.
People wish each other good luck. Setting off firecrackers and fireworks is an indispensable festivity and normally draws large crowds.
This is also a wonderful time to eat homemade foods, such as dumplings, sticky rice cake (nian gao), and longevity noodles.