From the team at Keen, we’d like to wish you a Happy Lunar New Year! Please join us in welcoming the Year of the Tiger.
We’d also like to take this time to share a bit about Lunar New Year history, the energy of the tiger, and how you can celebrate.
What Is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, is one of the largest celebrations and holidays in many East and Southeast Asian cultures. It marks the beginning of the new year in the lunar calendar, a system that tracks moon cycles, versus the western Gregorian calendar, a solar-based system.
Lunar New Year’s eve is on Jan 31 and New Year’s Day is Feb 1.
In many countries in Asia, celebrations begin with big banquets, festivals, and parades on New Year’s eve with business closures through the following two weeks.
Welcoming The Year of The Tiger
Each year in the lunar calendar also has an accompanying astrological animal. Different from western astrology, which changes signs on a monthly basis, eastern astrology only changes signs annually on the first day of the calendar.
This coming year, we’ll be moving into the Year of the Tiger. The tiger is the third animal in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes bravery, strength, and exorcising evil spirits.
In particular, this year is a Water Tiger year, which is the last of the five elements (Wu Xing) in lunar astrology. That means the motion is downward and introspective, and the energy is slow or unmoving. People born in a Water Tiger year are confident and quick learners.
How to Celebrate
It’s important to remember that Lunar New Year is a holiday with rich traditions and many ways to celebrate. We can’t cover all of them here, but this is a great place to get started.
Lunar New Year is about starting off fresh and preparing for a good year to come. Many people start the new year by doing a huge house cleaning. It’s important to dust and wash as much of your living space as possible to get rid of bad spirits and let money and luck in, in the new year.
Another huge part of Lunar New Year’s tradition is eating. You’re either supposed to cook a large meal or eat out with your family. It’s important to have enough to keep leftovers, which symbolize abundance.
There are many ways to make a Lunar New Year dinner, but most of them include either a whole fish, chicken, or both. Having the whole animal on the table once again symbolizes abundance and luck for the new year. Also, in Mandarin the word for fish and leftovers have the same vocalization.
In many Asian cultures, red is an auspicious color symbolizing luck, so during celebrations most people will wear red. Adults will also give red envelopes containing money to children and young people of the family and close friends.
In large Asian communities, people also pray to their elders and light firecrackers and fireworks to ward off evil spirits in the new year. Many places with large Asian populations will also have parades with traditional dragon dance routines.
While Lunar New Year has its origins in East Asia, the celebration is for everyone. It’s a time to gather with friends, family, and community to spread joy and pray for prosperity for the coming year.