Written by Kadisha Aburub | Edited by Alexandra Erdman
February 10, 2024 will mark a Lunar New Year. It’s the Year of the Dragon! But wait, what exactly is the Lunar New Year? We encourage folks to attend Lunar New Year events, chat with folks who celebrate Lunar New Year, and learn a thing or two about the celebration.
We’ll do our best to break down what we’ve learned about Lunar New Year and we’ll be featuring some exciting artwork created by Kat Ku in our new Lunar New Year merch line.
For starters, the Lunar New Year is characterized by the lunisolar calendar. The lunisolar calendar is marked by the phases of the moon, starting with the new moon phase. The placement of these months is characterized by the Sun-Earth phenomena, the solstice.
Millions around the world celebrate Lunar New Year, while some dates overlap, some might have differences in the calendar so vary by a few days. For example, Han Chinese, Koreans,Vietnamese, and Yao people celebrate Lunar New Year on the same day.
So, it’s the year of the dragon? But how did the dragon and all the animals become an integral part of the Lunar New Year? Well for starters it is based on the Chinese Zodiac. The story goes: twelve animals were selected to race one another and to win had to cross a rapid current river. There was a cat and rat who hated one another and were horrid swimmers but were incredibly smart. So they hitched a ride with the generous ox. While the ox carried them across the river the rat pushed the cat into the river, removing the cat from the race. When the ox got to shore, the rat jumped in front of the ox and made first place, with the ox in second. The tiger followed shortly after the ox, coming in third. The rabbit jumped to fourth, and in fifth the dragon. While everyone thought the dragon would be in first, it noticed the rabbit needed help as it slipped on one of the rocks so gave the rabbit a puff of air to get it back on its feet. After the dragon the horse was behind, but the sneaky snake scared the horse at its feet, and slithered into sixth place, with the horse in seventh. After the sheep, monkey, and rooster finished but actually ended up helping one another across the river via a raft. In eleventh place was the dog, although a great swimmer, couldn’t resist wading in the water and taking a bath. And just as the race was about to close, an “oink” was heard in the distance, the pig finishing in last, with it stopping in the middle of the race, falling asleep, and then waking back up to finish in twelfth place.
While there are a few variations of the story, we hope you learned a fun story about the animals associated with Lunar New Year.
Happy Year of the Dragon!!
Featuring our Lunar New Year merch line: “Discover and Connect”. Artwork done by Kat Ku.