Lunar New Year – a time for celebration

14 Jan 2020

One of the greatest things about Melbourne is its wide array of different cultures. That’s why we’re commemorating our rich and diverse community by highlighting the Lunar New Year celebration.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.

Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.  Recent years of the Rat are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Lucky things for Rats
blue, gold, green
Numbers: 2, 3
Flowers: lily, African violet, valley lily

Fast facts about Lunar New Year

  1. The Lunar New Year is a celebration of age-old traditions and beliefs which incorporate a rich heritage of one of the world's most ancient civilizations. It is not just a time to relax or holiday but a time to reflect and celebrate.

  2. Similar to the Western New Year, people believe the Lunar New Year leaves the last year in the past and the New Year brings new hope and new life. Traditionally celebrations can last up to 15 days.

  3. The Lunar New Year is celebrated in accordance with the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on the time the moon takes to go around the Earth and coincides with the new moon. Therefore the beginning of the Lunar New Year can fall anywhere between late January and mid-February.

  4. One of the most important characteristics of the Lunar New Year is the name given to each of the 12 years. Tradition says that Lord Buddha called for all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Twelve animals came to him to offer a farewell. As a gesture of gratitude, Lord Buddha named a year after each of the twelve animals.

  5. Lunar New Year celebrations is characterised by street performances of the lion dance and dragon dance with exploding fire crackers. The loud noise of the fire crackers helps to get rid of bad spirits or bad events of last year and ushering good and prosperity for the coming year.

  6. In celebration of Lunar New Year, instead of giving presents people exchange red envelopes containing lucky money.

Melbourne hosts Lunar New Year festivals in the CBD and suburbs in January and February. Visitors will experience Lion Dance, Firecrackers, Traditional Folk Music, Dancers, Martial Artists and much more.