Lunar New Year: Meaning and Traditions

Gus Nodal, Media Relations Manager at LCIBy Gus Nodal, Media Relations Manager

Happy Lunar New Year! Last week, about 1.5 billion people around the world welcomed the Year of the Dog. Lunar New Year is about spending time with family and friends, feasting on foods with symbolic meanings, gift-giving and good wishes. Lunar New Year celebrations began on February 16 and end on March 2.


Many families across the globe gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve and clean their houses to sweep away bad fortune on New Year’s Day.

Children are given red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” and positive wishes. Since we’re in the digital age, many kids now have red envelope apps, so their relatives can transfer cash digitally.

Foods to Eat

A big part of Lunar New Year is feasts with familyThese foods are considered lucky during the Lunar New Year:

  • Fish – increases prosperity
  • Dumplings – increases wealth
  • Spring rolls – increases wealth
  • Tangyuan (sweet rice balls) –symbolizes family togetherness
  • Good fortune fruit (oranges, apples, bananas, etc.) – symbolizes fullness and wealth
  • Niangao (glutinous rice cake) – increases income and position
  • Longevity noodles – brings happiness and longevity



Red is a lucky color during Lunar New YearUnless you want a lifetime of bad luck, avoid the following:

  • Certain gifts that include clocks, scissors, and pears. All those have bad meaning in some Asian cultures.
  • Monochrome attire should be avoided. Instead wear bright festive colors.
  • Debt or borrowing money on New Year’s Day should be avoided, and so should collecting debts.
  • Theft or being robbed is especially disastrous as it could signify that your wealth will be stolen in the coming year.
  • The broom should be stored away because sweeping on New Year’s Day also means your wealth will also be swept away.
  • Washing hair on the first day of the lunar year could also mean washing your fortune away.
  • Medicine should not be taken on the first day of the lunar year, because not only will you get ill, but the illness will last for the entire year.


Year of the Dog

2018 is the Year of the Dog. What does that mean? The lunar calendar has a 12-year cycle with a different animal each year. The zodiac signs are determined by the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling one’s birth year has a profound influence on personality and destiny. To find out your Chinese zodiac sign and fortune, click here.

How do you plan to celebrate the Lunar New Year? Leave a comment below or tweet us @LandisComm.

5 thoughts on “Lunar New Year: Meaning and Traditions

  1. Gus, great blog. Nice to have a primer on the Lunar New Year, especially living in San Francisco with its incredible diversity. Can’t wait to try all the foods (and receive those red envelopes!) Cheers, David

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