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Lunar New Year: Celebrations, Traditions, and Meaning

Anne January 3rd, 2024
Lunar New Year: Celebrations, Traditions, and Meaning


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A Celebration of Tradition: What is the Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is an annual celebration that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends with the first full moon, 15 days later. The lunar calendar is based on the moon's cycles, so the specific dates will vary marginally each year. However, when answering the question, of when is the Lunar New Year for this year, the answer is it begins on Saturday, February 10, 2024, and will celebrate the Year of the Dragon.

Lunar New Year is also a time of celebration for spring. It is the singular most important holiday in all of China and is also celebrated in South KoreaVietnam, and in areas with a significant Chinese population. If you plan to experience the Lunar New Year abroad, order your currency with CXI, so you are prepared to stuff your red envelopes.  




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Celebrating the Lunar New Year: Traditions, Customs, and Festivals

Lunar New Year

The traditional customs of the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year are recognized and observed throughout China. Families will typically decorate their windows with red paper cuttings while adoring their doors with couplets that express good wishes for the coming year.

There is also a customary Lunar New Year’s Eve reunion dinner, which is the kickoff of the holiday, featuring symbolic dishes, like whole fish, that are said to bring good luck and fortune.

On the final day or the 15th day of the celebration, the Lantern Festival takes place, which involves children carrying lanterns around the neighborhood and the enjoyment of Tangyuan, or sweet rice balls, which are believed to bring good luck. 

Lunar New Year: Unveiling East Asia Traditions 

Chinese baby girl traditional dressing up with a FU means lucky red envelope

Another important East Asia tradition is the giving of red envelopes. The custom of giving a red envelope comes from a story that claims a demon named Sui would regularly make an appearance at night to terrify sleeping children.

The tradition suggests that on the eve of the Lunar New Year, children were given eight coins to play with, wrapped in red paper. The eight coins wrapped in red paper would be placed under the child’s pillow and when the Sui tried to touch the child as they slumbered, the demon would be chased away from the strong light emitted by the paper and coins. 

This tradition eventually evolved into elders or parents giving children red envelopes to bring them good luck and safety in the New Year. The custom continues to be embraced today by organizing a red envelope exchange and even wearing the color red to bed for extra good luck.

Red envelopes are often filled with cash gifts, but it’s important to remember that the power of the red envelope custom is not in the cash but in the red paper that surrounds it. The color red prompts good luck and wards off evil in Chinese culture. 


Experience Lunar New Year in Asia

Chinese Yuan Currency

When visiting East Asia during the Lunar New Year or any other time of the year, it’s important to remember to exchange your currency before your trip. This will allow you to pay primarily with cash, which is customarily appreciated in this culture because cash is king.

Be prepared to travel by conveniently reserving foreign currency online to save time on your branch. Pick up or use CXI's OnlineFX Home Delivery to order foreign currency whenever wherever. 

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About Currency Exchange International
Currency Exchange International, CXI, is the leading provider of comprehensive foreign exchange services, risk management solutions and integrated international payments processing technology in North America. CXI’s relationship-driven approach ensures clients receive tailored solutions and world-class customer service. Through innovative and trusted FX software platforms, CXI delivers versatile foreign exchange services to our clients, so that they can efficiently manage and streamline their foreign currency and global payment needs. CXI is a trusted partner among financial institutions, corporations and retail markets around the world. To learn more, visit: www.ceifx.com


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