What is Lunar New Year and What Does it Mean?

South Edmonton Common would like to wish those who celebrate Lunar New Year a happy and prosperous new year! The “Year of the Rat” promises success in wellness and material goods for those born under this zodiac animal’s sign.

For those who do not celebrate and would like to know more, or for those who do but are not quite sure of the significance of it, we created this post for you! Read on to learn about Lunar New Year, its traditions, and more.

What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year marks the beginning of a new year based on the first new moon of the year according to the lunar calendar. Celebration takes places up until the first full moon 15 days later. It is celebrated by 20% of the world’s population who are typically of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Malaysian descent (and many more).

What does Lunar New Year mean?

Just how one celebrates new years on January 1st with traditions, Lunar New Year is just that… a new year with many traditions. Lunar New Year was traditionally a time to honour gods and ancestors. More commonly these days, it is an opportunity for family to come together and feast. Lion dances are also performed around the new year.

Red Envelopes and other traditions

Red envelopes (or “hong baos” in Chinese) containing money are given to children by adults, typically symbolizing the passing on of good luck from one to another. Less commonly, red envelopes can be given from a younger generation to an elder to symbolize gratitude.

Wearing red is also believed to welcome good fortune as well as the number “8” (the more 8’s the better!)

What’s my zodiac animal?

Depending on the year in which you were born, you will be one of twelve animals. There is a legend that comes with the order of the animals (the rat being the first of the zodiac animals) but we will save that story for another time. Find the year you were born in the chart below and see what your animal says about you!


Happy Lunar New Year!