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Lunar new year what is it

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Lunar New Year what is it. When we read notes on the web we automatically relate it to the Chinese New Year but it is not totally strict and true, that is, there is correspondence but it does not include everything that it can mean.

The Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are lunar cycles, based on the lunar calendar or lunisolar calendar.

The Lunar New Year is particularly celebrated in East Asia, influenced by the Chinese New Year and the Chinese Calendar. It is also a feature of the Hindu-Buddhist calendars of South and Southeast Asia, the Islamic calendar, and the Jewish calendar.


There are two main types of calendars established in the phases of the moon: lunar and lunisolar calendars. The start day of your year varies when expressed in a solar calendar, such as the Gregorian calendar. A lunar calendar is not tied to the solar year at all and your New Year’s Day rises or falls each year in relation to it, depending on whether it is more or less than 13 lunar months.

By comparison, the New Year’s Day of a lunisolar calendar remains relatively synchronized with the solar year: its months are linked to the lunar cycles, but its duration is adjusted periodically, usually thanks to an intercalary month.

Since the new moon appears in Earth’s sky every 29 days, the lunar new year is not tied to any particular lunar event, but is chosen as the 13th appearance of the new moon, after the date of the new year. previous. That is why it is correct to speak of “Muslim New Year” for the lunar calendar; “Chinese New Year”, “Hebrew New Year”, etc., for semilunar calendars.

To erase any concrete identity, it is also correct to speak of “traditional New Year”. Therefore, the New Year of the solar calendar, also “traditional”, can be designated in opposition (“Christian New Year”, “Western New Year”, “Civil New Year”, …). Therefore, the use of “Lunar New Year” is rare.


It’s called the Lunar New Year because it marks the first new moon in the traditional lunisolar calendars of many East Asian countries, including China, South Korea, and Vietnam, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and the sun.

As the New York Times explains, “A solar year, the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun, lasts about 365 days, while a lunar year, or 12 complete cycles of the Moon, is about 354 days.” . As with the Jewish lunisolar calendar, “a month is still defined by the moon, but an additional month is added periodically to stay close to the solar year.” That’s why the new year falls on a different day within that one-month window each year.

The Lunar New Year is not only observed in China, it is celebrated in several countries and other territories in Asia, including South Korea and Singapore. In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is known as Tết, and in Tibet it is Losar. In the US, however, it is most commonly associated with what is often called Chinese New Year, the American version of China’s 15-day holidays.

Chinese lunar new year

For the Chinese, in China and in ethnic communities around the world, the lunar new year is the most important and festive holiday of the year. Throughout China’s centuries of agrarian tradition, this was the only period when farmers were able to rest from their work in the fields.

Family members from near and far traveled to be with loved ones in time to usher in the old year and welcome the new, with a grand flourish of celebration. With a calendar dating from the third millennium BC. C., the Chinese people have been based for thousands of years on the ancient customs of the New Year celebrations.

Although they may vary from region to region, village to village, and even family to family depending on social position, many of these customs are still observed.

Today, throughout China, during what is now commonly known as the Spring Festival, passenger trains, buses, and river boats are packed with holiday travelers; stores do a flurry of businesses selling gifts, new clothes, and festive meals; kitchens are filled with elaborate party preparations; and the streets are filled with the sounds of firecrackers and seasonal greetings.

Why do we say Lunar New Year instead of Chinese New Year?

Lunar New Year is preferred because it is more inclusive than other Asian New Year celebrations and the holiday is known by different names in different countries. For example, in China it is called Chūn Jié, in Vietnam it is known as Tết, in Korea it is Seollal and in Tibet it is called Losar. In addition, it is known as the Spring Festival.

Read also: Delicious Food to Eat During Chinese New Year ; What is the origin of the Chinese New Year?

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