As the winter cold starts to fade (kind of) and the trees on campus begin growing leaves again, it can only mean one thing…. No, not spring! Lunar New Year!
What Exactly is Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year is a celebration originating from Ancient China. Unlike our Western New Year’s Day which is based on the Georgian calendar, Lunar New Year falls on the second full moon after the winter period, hence the name “Lunar”.
For all your astrology enthusiasts out there, the Lunar New Year also holds predictions for the new year based on the Chinese Zodiac. Each year represents a different zodiac, your zodiac is dependent on the year you were born as opposed to the month like in astrology.
This year 2024, is the year of the dragon (2000 babies this one is for you!). They say the Year of the Dragon is associated with creativity and innovation as well as financial prosperity. However, it is also recommended to stay grounded as the dragon is believed to be strong and ambitious but can often fall short of humility.
How can you celebrate?
For those of you who are far away from home and would like to be surrounded by larger Lunar New Year festivities, there are a few events that might interest you:
- Sunday 11th January Chinatown
If you’re willing to travel a bit, Chinatown in London offers some fantastic Lunar New Year activities, the most popular being the infamous Lion dance
- Book a celebratory dinner for LNY
3. On the 20 February 2024 there will be a Chinese New Year celebration in 3Sixty, in Reading Students’ Union, 16:00-19:00. They’ll be food, a prize draw, mahjong, riddles, crafts and calligraphy, and more! No need to sign up, just come along on the day.
If you want something more lowkey, there are some alternative ways to celebrate LNY at home:
- Craft hóngbāo / red envelopes
Red envelopes are customary during LNY, their red colour symbolizes protection and prosperity and is often received by children, the unmarried and the elderly.
- Make (or buy) Moon Cakes
Lastly, time for my personal favourite, moon cakes! Moon cakes are a traditional Chinese dessert normally eaten during the Mid-Autumn- Festival but are also consumed during The Lunar New Year.
Check out my favourite moon cake recipe
We understand for those who are far away from home, cultural-specific celebrations like this may make you feel more lonely than usual. Although this may be the case, we hope these recommendations may give you something to look forward to and celebrate!
And if you need some extra support, there are some resources below you can refer to.
0118 378 4777