For many Asian communities, the Lunar New Year is the most important and festive holiday of the year. Family members make time to visit each other and pay homage to their elders and ancestors.
And even though it takes place during the winter, it is actually a spring festival filled with holiday festivities, vacation time, and sights and sounds of firecrackers and greetings.
This year the Lunar New Year falls on January 25.
Here are five tidbits about the holiday:
1. The Lunar New Year changes every year since it is followed by the phases of the moon. The next Lunar New Year falls on February 12, 2021.
2. Gift-giving is customary. Elders often give small amounts of money to children in red envelopes for good luck. Families take holidays to pay respect to their loved ones and often take off several days to enjoy the holiday.
3. The zodiac calendar is represented by 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each zodiac animal brings its own personality and characteristics to the year.
4. This is the year of the rat. Rat years are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, and 2032. Characteristics of people born in the Year of the Rat: positive attitude, logical, thrifty, diligent, hard-working, cautious, and outgoing.
5. Bright red and the face of the dragon serve as symbols of good fortune. So, if you go to a Lunar New Year party, find something red to wear! That combined with the use of firecrackers and loud noises scare away evil spirits.
Editor’s note: The video below was originally published in 2018.