Lunar New Year is almost here, marking a time to celebrate family, food, and good fortune. The difference between this holiday and New Year’s Day on January 1st is that it falls on the first new moon between January 21st and February 20th.
Celebrated by people around the globe, including those in China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and here in the U.S., Lunar New Year is filled with traditions. Every year correlates with one of 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In 2021, the spotlight’s on the ox, which carries traits of hard work, honesty, and positivity. Usually, the holiday is celebrated for 15 days, and activities like cleaning the home, wearing red, cooking, lighting lanterns, and more, are done to welcome positive energy to start the new year fresh.Of course, Lunar New Year rituals may vary from family to family. In 2021, celebrations may look different with the pandemic but there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit. Here, we’ve put together our take on a few ideas on toasting to the occasion along with an edit of jewelry with meaning if you wish to give something special to a loved one (or to yourself). After all, one of the traditions is to refresh your wardrobe and accessories. You’ll also find Chinese proverbs and wise sayings for ideas on messages to add—or you can always write your own to give it a personal touch.
So, just how do you celebrate Lunar New Year?
Clean Your Home
This might just be the tiniest frame ever created.Before Lunar New Year starts, cleaning the home is typically done to rid your space of any misfortunes from the past year. It’s said to open room for new beginnings and welcome good luck. This is the prime time to declutter, finish any lingering home projects, sort through paperwork, organize junk drawers, wash windows…the works.
The cleaning doesn’t just stop inside the home, it also applies to your outdoor space. Making sure your entrance is nice and tidy can give you peace of mind for luck to find its way to you.
Just make sure you don’t clean on the 15 days of the Lunar New Year. As much as there are traditions, there are superstitions, too. Cleaning—especially sweeping the floors—on the holiday itself can mean sweeping away good fortune and nobody wants that, right?
To go the extra mile, you can hang up Lunar New Year decorations around your house. Classic decor elements include red couplets pasted on doors and lanterns add a festive cheer to any space.
Need inspo on a message to store inside? Try…
- “Happiness is a freshly cleaned house.”
- “When spring comes, blessings will follow.”
- “Family makes this house a home.”
- “Once you need less, you will have more.”
- “An old broom has its value.”
Our take on lucky envelopes are filled with fortunes.Lunar New Year is synonymous with red. Throughout history, red bas been worn to attract luck, prosperity, success, and happiness. Legend has it that red is used to scare away evil spirits as is lighting fireworks.
Shopping for new clothes and accessories is common during the beginning of the year as well to start anew.
As for another classic symbol of luck? Red envelopes. It’s tradition to give family members and friends (usually the elder to children or those who are unmarried) red envelopes with crisp cash bills as a way to share blessings.
The amount inside the envelopes depends on preference—overall, it’s the color and gesture that gives it meaning.
You can always count on these motivating messages:
- “Wishing you happiness and prosperity.”
- “A new year brings good luck.”
- “If you always give, you will always have.”
- “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”
- “The New Year—a time to say goodbye and a time to say hello.”
Spend Time With Family
Even if you're not near your family in distance, you can still celebrate with them remotely.Lunar New Year is a special time for families to unite, honor ancestors, celebrate each other’s company, and perhaps attend a Spring Festival together. Although many parts of the world are still practicing social distancing at this time, there are still ways to honor traditions without breaking rules.
If safe to do so, you can get together with a few family members or host a Zoom session for large groups. On the bright side, digital celebrations are more convenient and instant. Enjoy a meal together through the screen and send a digital red envelope to loved ones instead.
Even if you can’t be in each other’s presence in real life, technology is on your side. Another idea: mail them a gift such as our Turning Corners Fortune Locket, one of our meaningful necklaces that symbolizes new beginnings.
A message to bring a smile to a family member’s face...
- “Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.”
- “May your year be filled with abundance and good fortune.”
- “All things are difficult before they are easy.”
- “Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid of standing still.”
- “Distance only makes the heart grow fonder.”
Take Up Cooking
Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal—and a thoughtful piece of jewelry.During Lunar New Year, food is especially important as it’s another symbol of luck and prosperity. Many families take this opportunity to cook meals together and make dishes such as dumplings, fish, chicken, noodles, spring rolls, and sweet glutinous rice cake. It’s also common to buy tangerines, oranges, fruits, and candy to enjoy.
If you can’t sit at the dining table among your family members in person, one idea may be to prepare one of their favorite dishes and drop it off if they are nearby.
Food is a symbol of love for many, and it certainly is for the Asian culture. That being said, our Heart + Arrow Bracelet makes for a fitting piece of heart jewelry for someone you love. Maybe food is something that has always brought you together, and adding a note just for them can make for a thoughtful gift.
Need more ideas on messages? These should do the trick...
- “Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness." —Lu Yu, The Classic Art of Tea
- “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
- “Preserve the old, but know the new.”
- “Live. Love. Eat.”
- “Cooking is love made visible.”
Light a Lantern
With a history spanning more than 2,000 years, many East Asian communities mark the finale of the celebration by lighting lanterns and firecrackers.
The Lantern Festival is usually celebrated on the 15th day of the first Lunar New Year Month—this is the time to look at the moon and send up flying lanterns for a bright start to the new year. In ancient times, this ritual was also a way to pay tribute to the gods for good luck.
At one point, lanterns were made from bamboo slices which were covered with gauze or paper. Nowadays, materials range but the meaning behind lighting lanterns remains the same.
Lion dances and light shows are also popular during this time of year to welcome the new year.
Add an uplifting message inside, such as…
- “Be light. Be love.”
- “Onward and upward.”
- “A journey of a thousand words begins with a single step.” —Lao Tzu
- “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
- “Stay close to people who make you feel like sunlight.” —Xan Oku
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