By Kyra Hahn
Lunar New Year 2023 – Sunday, January 22 through Sunday, February 5
Lunar New Year is a celebration based on the traditional lunar (moon cycles) calendar and generally lasts 15 days, falling on varying dates each year between mid-January and mid-February. It typically begins with the first new moon and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar. While many may call it Chinese New Year and it is often associated with festivals in China, this event is celebrated culturally in many Asian countries as the spring season begins. The ending of festivities is often marked by a lantern festival. Countries that celebrate include Vietnam, Korea, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Philippines and parts of Japan. Lunar New Year is also celebrated throughout the world by communities in diaspora.
While foods and celebratory customs may vary geographically, from a historical context, this celebration has been in existence for about 3500 years, and began as a time for families to unite and rest from agricultural work. It remains one of the most important and celebrated events within Asian culture. Ancestors are typically honored with offerings and asked for blessings and protection in the new year. Home cleaning wards off bad luck and evil spirits. The color red is used for protection from evil spirits and beasts, and signifies celebration, good fortune, prosperity, and joy.
Different countries may have different names for their new year celebrations. A few examples include:
- Vietnam – Tet
- Korea – Seollal
- Philippines – Media Noche
There are many ways to celebrate! Some common celebratory themes include honoring ancestors and elders, visiting family, home cleaning and decorating, preparation of special foods, and offerings to encourage health, good luck, and prosperity in the new year.
Check out these educational event offerings at the Denver Public Library honoring aspects of East and Southeast Asian culture and bringing joy into 2023.
Library Celebrations featuring Lion Dances:
Library Celebrations featuring Lunar New Year parties:
Montbello – Wednesday, January 25, 10:30-11 a.m. storytime
Montbello – Thursday, February 2, 3-5 p.m.
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez - Friday, February 3, 4-5 p.m.
Smiley - Saturday, February 4, 12-2 p.m.
Ross-Broadway – Saturday, February 4, 12-4 p.m.
Central, Children’s Library - Sunday, February 5, 4-5 p.m.
Sam Gary – Tuesday, February 7, 4-5 p.m.
Ford-Warren – Wednesday, February 8, 4-5 p.m.
Library Celebration featuring Bau Cua traditional Vietnamese game:
Athmar – Saturday, February 4, 1-2 p.m.
Visit one of our participating branches to learn more about Lunar New Year with activity guides, crafts, scavenger hunts, and prizes for all ages!
Central, Children’s Library
Green Valley Ranch
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez
Browse our catalog for more information about Lunar New Year!
Websites consulted for this writing and worth exploring include:
Case Western University Center for International Affairs. “Lunar New Year.” Case Western University, https://case.edu/international/events/lunar-new-year#:~:text=Today%2C%20Lunar%20New%20Year%20is,countries%20all%20over%20the%20world. Accessed 1/3/2023.
Kim, Anna. “How Lunar New Year is Celebrated Around Asia.” Travel and Leisure, October 18, 2022, https://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/lunar-new-year-celebrations. Accessed 12/14/2022.
Cindy. “10 Quick Facts About Lunar New Year.” China Highlights, https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/lunar-new-year-facts.htm. Accessed 12/15/2022.
Editors at History.com. “Lunar New Year 2023.” History.com, February 2, 2022,
https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/chinese-new-year. Accessed 12/13/2022.
Asia for Educators. “The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends.” Asia for Educators, Columbia University, http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_general_lunar.htm. Accessed 12/13/2022.