The beauty of a world full of different cultures is learning about the history, importance, and traditions of holidays throughout the year. The Lunar New Year, originating in Asian cultures, is an excellent example. As an Asian-owned business, Meridian Events is especially proud to celebrate our heritage and support our clients in their Lunar New Year festivities.

What is the Lunar New Year?

Sometimes called the “Chinese New Year” by Western countries, Lunar New Year is a festival celebrated in China, Korea, and other Asian countries. It begins with the first new moon and ends on the first full moon which is why it is called the Lunar New Year. Since it is based on the phases of the moon, the start and end dates of the two-week long celebration change each year.

How is the Lunar New Year Celebrated?

Every country and culture has their own traditions, and that is also true when it comes to celebrating the Lunar New Year. Generally, though, approximately ten days before the new moon each house is thoroughly cleaned to remove any lingering bad luck. This custom is called the “sweeping of the grounds”. Then, on New Year’s day, family members receive red envelopes with a bit of money inside. 

There are many events throughout the fifteen days of celebration, such as fireworks, dancing, and the Lantern Festival (celebrated on the last day of the festival). The Lantern Festival promotes peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

No celebration is complete without delicious food, and the Lunar Year Year festivities are no exception. A couple of the traditional Chinese dishes are yusheng, a raw fish and vegetable salad and yuanxiao, sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity. There is also often fagao, a prosperity cake. In Vietnam, many enjoy bánh chưng, a rice cake made with mung beans, pork, and other ingredients wrapped in bamboo leaves. Korean families enjoy tteokguk, which is a clear broth soup with white rice cakes. It is believed to symbolize starting the new year with a clean body and mind.

What is the significance of the color red?

The Lunar New Year and its origin is thousands of years old. One Chinese legend describes a beast, Nian, that was believed to feast on humans. It was said that Nian was afraid of the color red, fire, and loud noises. To scare away the beast, people hung red decorations, kept lanterns burning all day and night, and set off fireworks. Today, some celebrations include parades, hanging red banners and decorations, and fireworks.

How can the Lunar New Year be celebrated in the United States?

Meridian Events had the pleasure of designing a Lunar New Year celebration for some of Hennessy’s VIP clients in Southern California. This intimate, elevated event was hosted at Knife Pleat, a one-star Michel restaurant in Costa Mesa, California. The celebration was a space bathed in traditional red lanterns and florals, served delicious food, and had an authentic calligrapher inking Chinese names for the guests. There were also dragons, keeping with tradition, and of course Hennessy cocktails to sip. The Lunar New Year focuses on a prosperous year ahead, so the guests wrote down goals and aspirations for the new year, then hung them with red ribbons.

Whether you reside in the Western or Eastern hemisphere, the Lunar New Year can be observed and celebrated. After all, don’t we all want to start each new year with a clean home, hopes and aspirations for the future, and forgiveness in our hearts?

Wishing you luck, love, and health this Lunar New Year!

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