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China - Lunar New Year - Chinese New Year

Lunar New Year Celebrations

By Leah Rockey, Assistant Director

Family Celebrations - Lunar New Year - ChinaIf you have adopted from China or celebrate Lunar New Year within your family, you know that preparation for this year’s New Year’s Eve dinner and other festivities is already well underway. This year Lunar New Year will arrive on Sunday, January 22, with family reunion meals occurring tonight on New Year’s Eve. 

While this weekend marks the beginning of the holiday, its celebration lasts up to 2 weeks. Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is the most important holiday in China and is similar in some ways to our Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States. Individuals enjoy a weeklong or longer holiday marked by time off work and school, rich cultural traditions and customs, visiting with family, large meals, and enjoying decorations abounding in red and gold. Chinese New Year ends with the celebration of the Lantern Festival on February 5. 

One of the World’s Largest Holidays

But did you know that Lunar New Year is not just observed in China? It is one of the largest holidays, celebrated by over 20% of the world’s population. It is most commonly celebrated in Asian countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and other countries worldwide or regions with larger Chinese communities, such as San Francisco or New York City. This 2-week holiday is based on the lunar calendar, and the dates fluctuate yearly. In China, this holiday is also called “Spring Festival,” and the festival signals the beginning of spring — a time to bid farewell to the old year and usher in a new year.

Ahead of the holiday, millions of people travel not only within China but throughout Asia and back to their childhood homes for family reunions, resulting in the world’s largest human migration. The highlights of this special celebration begin on New Year’s Eve and the first day of the Lunar New Year. It is tradition to give red envelopes (hongbao in Mandarin or lai see in Cantonese) to children and anyone unmarried as a way to send good wishes. 

Family Celebrations - Lunar New YearChinese culture believes in preparing various traditional dishes with symbolic meanings. These dishes may include noodles, fish, spring rolls, Tāngyuán, dumplings, a whole chicken (head & feet included to symbolize “unity” and “wholeness”), and certain fruits and vegetables, to name a few. The Chinese believe eating these foods at the start of a new year will bring good luck, wealth, happiness, longevity, prosperity, and family togetherness. Families also set off fireworks and attend cultural performances such as dragon dances and lion dances.

While each Chinese or Lunar New Year will look different for each family around the world, there are many ways to celebrate this rich cultural holiday within a family. If you have previously adopted from China or are in the process of adopting from China, visit our blog and social media accounts next week. We will provide practical ways to honor your child’s heritage during Chinese New Year and creative ways to weave your child’s culture into your family during this special time of the year.

Pray for Our Waiting Families

As the Chinese New Year celebrations begin, we also pause to remember all the families in our China adoption program currently waiting for their children. Will you join us in prayer that God will continue to open doors for adoption to resume in this program? We believe we serve a God that loves every orphan and sees them and their future forever families. Please continue interceding with us with great hope and faith that we will soon see movement again in China.

We would love to see how your family celebrates the Chinese/Lunar New Year! You can email photos to Debby DeRosa, our Marketing and Social Media Manager. You can also share them as comments to our social media posts or tag us on Instagram or Facebook.

From our America World family to yours – 新年快乐 (xīnnián kuàilè) – Happy New Year!


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