Lunar New Year Vs Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. 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.

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, the 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 CNY

Spring Festival
 

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

Chinese Lunar New Year is the 1st of the first month in the Chinese calendar. Kindly note that the Chinese calendar is not only based upon the monthly cycles of the moon's phases but also adjusted with regards to the sun, making the calendar "lunisolar."

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 non-Chinese 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.

The term of the Lunar New Year is used when applied in a background of a wider cultural sense, it is a more inclusive phrase.

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 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, 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.

How do Ethnic Minorities Celebrate the Lunar New Year?

Having 56 ethnic groups, China is a multi-ethnic country. Different ethnicities 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, sing and dance with 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.

Click Minority Groups' Customs for the Lunar New Year for more information.

Spend a New Year in China

Visiting China during the Chinese New Year period, you will see the streets filled with lanterns and Spring Festival rhymes and riddles, representing good luck, to show people's happiness. From jungle-covered mountains to modern metropolises to ancient cities, the New Year brings all of China together, seeing it for yourself is an unforgettable experience.

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