Lunar New Year: How do Japanese, Filipinos and Koreans celebrate?

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The lunar new year, also known as Chinese New Year or Chinese Lunar New Year, is well-known around the world, not just in East Asian nations.

It is observed in late January or early February, marking the beginning of the new lunar calendar, which bases its months on the phases of the moon. As a result, all the nations that use the lunar calendar participate in this festival in accordance with their respective cultural traditions.

It is the greatest and most significant celebration of the year in South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China, which all follow the lunar calendar.

How do they celebrate in Japan?

Chinese traditions have a direct influence on many parts of Japanese Lunar New Year customs. For instance, when individuals go to see friends and family, the elders present the kids red envelopes with brand-new money inside. This represents well wishes for the coming year and is referred to as “lucky money” or otoshidama in Japanese.

But there are also a lot of Japanese-specific traditions that have entered the festival as well, which are remarkably similar to the Japanese New Year’s celebrations. Deep cleaning is a custom that many people follow.

This is a continuation of the Japanese tradition known as oosouji, or “great cleansing,” in which you can purge your house, workplace, and office of anything unfavorable that no longer serves you.

Starting the new year thoroughly cleansed also aids in clearing the home of any bad luck from the previous year and makes room for good luck to replace it. Leaving windows and doors open makes it easier for luck to enter.

How do they celebrate in the Filipines?

Similar to the New Year on January 1, customs and rituals are practiced to entice luck and prosperity for the upcoming year.

The oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo in Manila, is where most Filipinos who celebrate the festival congregate.

The Parades of Dragons and Lions, a vibrant and energetic show accompanied by the loud banging of drums and cymbals, draw large crowds to the streets of Chinatown. In China, the dragon is thought to stand for strength, good fortune, and immense power. The lion, meantime, stands for protection and fortune.

Without lighting fireworks and firecrackers, or just simply making noise, the Lunar New Year wouldn’t be complete. This is done to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and the fabled beast known as Nian. Horns and cooking pots are two common noisemakers among the Filipinos.

How do they celebrate in South Korea?

Seollal is more of a family-oriented festival, whereas Christmas is typically a time for getting together with friends or going on dates in Korea. During this time, a lot of Koreans visit their families. Roads will be extremely congested at this time of year as a result. Additionally, tickets for trains, buses, and airplanes will either be impossible to purchase or excessively expensive.

The most significant Korean Lunar New Year custom is called Sebae. Sebae is the practice of bending profoundly to the earth while kneeling down and placing your hands on the floor. The younger generation owes their elders a sincere bow and a pleasant new year. This classic deep bow denotes respect.

Charye is another important tradition. The practice of honoring one’s ancestors during the Lunar New Year is known as charye. As a present to one’s ancestors, food is placed on a table with the family’s ancestral tablets hidden beneath it. On these tables, people give their forefathers deep bows as a sign of respect. Although many Koreans still practice this custom, it is not as common as the other Seollal customs.

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