Many countries around the world celebrate Lunar New Year and there are some different traditions between different countries.
1. In China
The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of the Lunar New Year. The calendar is also used in countries that have been influenced by, or have relations with, China – such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam, though occasionally the date celebrated may differ by one day or even one moon cycle due to using a meridian based on a different capital city in a different time zone or different placements of intercalary months.
Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.
Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival. It often serves as the first meal of the year either at mid-night or as breakfast of the first day.
In the days immediately before the New Year celebration, Chinese families give their homes a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck.
Businesses are expected to pay off all the debts outstanding for the year before new year eve, extending to debts of gratitude. Thus it is a common practice to send gifts and rice to close business associates and extended family members.
2. In Korean
Koreans celebrate New Year’s Day at the start of the year on the lunar calendar and have done so for thousands of years. It is one of the most important traditional Korean holidays. The celebration usually lasts three days: the day before Korean New Year, Korean New Year itself, and the day after Korean New Year. During this time, many Koreans visit family, perform ancestral rites, wear “Hanbok”, eat traditional food, and play folk games. Additionally, children often receive money from their elders after performing a formal bow.
Korean New Year generally occurs in January or February on the second new moon after the winter solstice, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In such a case, the New Year falls on the third new moon after the solstice. Korean New Year typically falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.
The three-day holiday is used by many to return to their hometowns to visit their parents and other relatives, where they perform an ancestral ritual called charye.
Since it is one of the few times families may be able to get together and catch up on one another’s lives, it is considered respectful and important to attend the holiday. Often, the family members first visit the elders, and this includes the grandparents and the parents. It is also considered respectful for people to visit their mothers- and fathers-in-law during the Korean New Year.
Gifts are usually given to family members and new clothes are worn during the holiday. Traditional food is prepared for many family members coming to visit for the holiday.
Many preparations go into celebrating the Korean New Year. During the first morning, Koreans pay their respect towards their ancestors. Traditional foods are placed on a table as an offering to the ancestors, and a rite begins with deep bows from all family members.
Another custom observed is the lighting of a “moon house” built from burnable firewood and branches. This symbolizes the warding off of bad/evil spirits for the new year. Many also choose to add wishes they want coming true in the next year to the moon house.
3. In Vietnamese
Although Tet is a national holiday among all Vietnamese, each region and religion has its own customs.
Vietnamese people usually return to their families during Tết. Some return to worship at the family altar or visit the graves of their ancestors in their homeland. They also clean the graves of their family as a sign of respect.
The first day of Tet is reserved for the nuclear family. Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradition is called “mung tuoi” or “li xi” (happy new age or lucky money) from their family, relatives and neighbor.
Vietnamese believe that the first visitor a family receives in the year determines their fortune for the entire year, people never enter any house on the first day without being invited first.
According to Vietnamese tradition, if good things come to the family on the first day of the lunar New Year, the entire following year will also be full of blessings. Usually, a person of good temper, morality, and success will be the lucky sign for the host family and be invited first into the house.
During Tet holiday people visit relatives and friends. Traditionally but not strictly, the second day of Tet is usually reserved for friends, while the third day is for teachers.
After the Tet and working days, the first day everyone in the same agency often wishes each other good luck and visits each other home.
In any country, in the new year greeting cards are used by agencies to send to their employees or customers. New Year’s greeting cards are all printed with good wishes wish them good health, good luck and happiness.
Some agencies use custom-designed greeting cards, especially some people used the card with animals represent for a year to send to friends and people.
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