Many of our families celebrated the New Lunar Year last weekend. We wish you a positive and prosperous Year of the Dragon. All the best for 2024! 

The animal for this year is the iconic dragon, which symbolizes power, prosperity, good fortune, honour and success. It is generally agreed to be the most famous of the animals representing a year. But this time around, there is a special feature. It is the ‘Wooden Dragon’ because it is a year that ends in 4 and so the connection with that element is established. 

When Is the Lunar New Year? 

Lunar New Year begins on the date (in East Asia) of the second new Moon after the winter solstice which always occurs in late December. This means that the first day of the Lunar New Year can occur anytime between January 21 and February 20.  

In 2024, the second new Moon occurred on Saturday, February 10, marking the start of a new lunar year. The celebrations began on Friday, 9 February as it was New Year’s Eve!  

Although this holiday is commonly called Chinese New Year in the West, China is not the only country to observe it. Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most celebrated and longest of all Asian festivals and is observed by millions of people worldwide. Many other countries in East Asia, including Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, hold their own New Year celebrations at this time. (Occasionally, the date celebrated may differ by one day or even one moon cycle due to time zones and other factors.) 

How is it celebrated? 

  • As with many winter solstice celebrations, the symbolic darkness of night is banished by the light of fireworks, lanterns, and candles. Hand-made paper lanterns are hung by the hundreds in public areas, bringing good luck to the new year. 
  • Dragon Dances, performances and festival parades are performed.  
  • Feasts with friends and family (many special noodle dishes representing longevity, dumplings, as well as moon cakes and a generous spread of dishes to share) 
  • Children receive lucky red envelopes with money inside. 
  • People clean their homes and open their doors to let good luck enter. 
  • According to tradition, no one should pick up a broom in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of the door! 

Happy New Year! 

Sasha Key (Mondays and Tuesdays)