Distinctions Between Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year

Written by Matteo Updated Apr. 8, 2021

Lunar Chinese Year Year 2024 takes place on February 10th, 2024. 

The Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year. However, this festival is not only celebrated in China but also in other Asian countries such as Vietnam and Korea.

Instead of the Chinese New Year, the phrase "Lunar New Year" is commonly used in non-Chinese countries. Is there actually a difference between these two phrases? This article will give you some idea.

Chinese New Year Celebrations
Chinese New Year Celebrations

What Is the Lunar New Year?

The Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are cycles of the moon.

Unlike New Year's Day always falls on Jan 1st based on the Gregorian calendar, Lunar New Year's Day falls on different days each year. Different countries celebrated it on different dates, too.

Differences between the Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year

In China, there is no difference between the Chinese New Year and the Lunar New Year. These two phrases both refer to the Spring Festival (春节 chūn jié).

Chinese Lunar New Year is the 1st of the first month in the Chinese calendar

However, the Lunar New Year in other countries is based on the purely lunar calendar instead of the lunisolar calendar. Therefore, the Lunar New Year date could be different in different countries.

In addition, the duration of the celebration period and holiday is not the same in different countries. There is a 7-day public holiday in China, while the holiday shortens to 3 days in Korea and Singapore.

Spring Festival
Spring Festival

What Countries Celebrate the Lunar New Year besides China?

Asian countries like Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia celebrate the Lunar New Year. But as the Chinese are spreading all over the world, the Lunar New Year has become popular in western countries, too.

The celebrations for the New Year are similar to those in China. For example, decorations in red color like lanterns, and Spring Couplets are widely used during the festival; dragon dance, lion dance, and setting off fireworks are popular activities.

Despite those similarities, different countries in a way have different customs for the Lunar New Year. Click the Lunar New Year Celebrations Around the World for more information.

New Year,Vietnam
New Year, Vietnam

How do Ethnic Minorities Celebrate the Lunar New Year?

Ethnic groups have different customs for the Lunar New Year.

Tibetan people celebrate New Year's Day by the Tibetan calendar. The Tibetan New Year usually comes within a few days after the Chinese Lunar New Year and lasts about 3 to 5 days. During the festival, people will light bonfires, gather in a circle, and sing and dance to traditional music all night long on a square or spacious grassland.

Mongolians call the first lunar month "White Month". Thus, the Lunar New Year can also be called the "White Festival" in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Mongolians will burn incense to worship Buddha, eat hand-held meat, and have bonfire parties during the festival.

Read Minority Groups’ New Year Customs to learn more details.

lusheng yao
Lusheng yao

Interesting Articles You May Want to Read

Create My Trip

Need Help?

Request a custom itinerary today and get one step closer to your personalized trip

Create Your Trip