About the Lunar New Year

Information about the Lunar New Year that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar rather than January 1 which is celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar.

The Lunar Calendar

The Lunar New Year 4721 was celebrated on 22 January 2022, the first day after the new (dark) moon. It celebrates Xin Nian, the Chinese New Year, Solnal, the Korean New Year, Tết, the Vietnamese New Year and also Losar, the New Year celebrations for Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Traditionally Shōgatsu, the Japanese New Year was also celebrated on this date but since 1873, the official Japanese New Year has been celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, on January 1 of each year. In most of these nations the Gregorian calendar is used for civil purposes but the lunar calendar is used to determine festivals and auspicious dates such as weddings and moving house.

This lunar new year is based on the traditional Chinese Agricultural Calendar which is lunisolar, primarily lunar but partially solar, guided by the movement of the moon as well as the sun. It is commonly called the lunar calendar.

The Chinese lunar calendar is associated with the Chinese zodiac, which has 12 animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal represents a year in a 12 year cycle, beginning on Lunar New Year's Day. There are many legends concerning the choice and order of the animals and their characteristics which are said to be imparted to people born in their year.

Year of the Rabbit and the Platypus

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.

The Australian Chinese Zodiac was developed to promote understanding between Chinese and Australian cultures by the Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Animals from the traditional zodiac have been matched to native animals according to their perceived similar characteristics. This year the Rabbit is matched to the Platypus.

Rabbit 兔

The rabbit is described as articulated, talented and ambitious. The rabbit is associated with being kind, thoughtful, virtuous, and reserved.

Platypus 鸭嘴兽

The platypus is a monotreme, skilled in building burrows in freshwater riverbanks. The platypus is a very special Australian native animal. They are typically shy and very selective in their choice for homes.

In Vietnamese culture, 2023 is the Year of the Cat.

How schools can be involved

Image: Warrior, The Ponds School


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