The Secrets of The Moon & The Lunar New Year
Happy Lunar New Year, Wise One! This is the second of my 3 new year celebrations and one of my favorites as an astrologer!
This holiday is celebrated by more than 20% of the world and originates in China. It’s the most important holiday in the country and for Chinese people all over the world. Across Asia, it is also known as the Spring Festival, despite the winter timing. People begin to welcome the prospects of seedlings and new beginnings that are in line with the energy of the first New Moon of the Year.
In addition to China, countries like Thailand, Japan, The Philippines, Vietnam and North & South Korea also observe this holiday. Because the Lunar New Year goes according to the lunar calendar and the first new moon of the year, it’s a moveable festival.
Based on the Lunar calendar, Spring Festival would begin on January 1st and last 15 days or until the moon begins its Full Moon phase. So last year we celebrated the Lunar New Year on February 4, 2019 but this year it falls on January 24, 2020. Because the number of moons that we have each year differs (based on it being a leap year or not), the Lunar New Year can range from January 21 to February 20.
In the Asian tradition, this day is a time for ancestor veneration. The Spring Festival origins were in the ceremony of praying to the gods for a prosperous planting and harvest season. There is also great lore about fighting off the monster named Nian. His time to come out and terrorize the people was during New Year’s Eve forcing them to stay locked inside. One year, a young boy found the courage to fight the monster using firecrackers. When the people discovered the monster was gone they set off more firecrackers in celebration, creating the origins of their modern day use in Lunar New Year celebrations.
In current times, people stay awake on the Lunar New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at midnight. They also burn hell notes and set out gold bars on altars to send wealth and prosperity to their ancestors who have crossed over. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the year and good luck with their family and loved ones. Just 15 days later, during the first full moon of the lunar new year is the Lantern Festival. I always see the iconic release of paper lanterns during the full moon light and a big party in my mind’s eye when I think of this time.