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Lunar New Year

This guide provides resources on the history, customs, and traditions of the Lunar New Year, celebrated in various eastern and southearn Asian countries.

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is a major holiday celebrated in many parts of Asia and in Asian communities around the world. It marks the beginning of the year using the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. The Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. Typically, Lunar New Year is observed in late January or early February of the Gregorian calendar.

Even though the Lunar New Year is not a public holiday in the United States, some states, such as California and Washington, have passed legislation recognizing the cultural significance of Lunar New Year. Some cities with large Asian American populations, including New York and San Francisco, close schools for the day. The U.S. Postal Service began issuing special stamps in 1992 to commemorate the Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year customs vary across countries and regions. In many places in Asia, it is a public holiday and a major time period for travel. Commonalities include cleaning the house; settling debts and disputes; gathering with family and friends; eating auspicious foods; honoring elders and ancestors; exchanging gifts of money; and watching or participating in traditional dances, games, and other cultural activities.

Resources in the Spotlight

China (Chunjie)

Korea (Seollal)

Mongol (Tsagaan Sar)

Taiwan (Chunjie)

Vietnam (Tet)

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