The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is Sunday.
“It’s mainly a symbol of a new beginning, wishing everybody good luck, good health, good prosperity,” said Clarence Chu with the Locke Foundation. The foundation’s purpose is to preserve the history and culture of the town of Locke, the only town in the United States built exclusively by the Chinese Americans for the Chinese.
The holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years.
“We have the lanterns, the lion dance, dragon dance, that sort of thing,” said Renne Lu with the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association.
“Kind of like we celebrate here during Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s pretty similar to that. There's a lot of warmth and joy to see your family together,” Chu said.
According to the Timothy S. Y. Lam Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University, the holiday has a history of about 3,500 years. The holiday is full of stories and myths. During the Tang, Song, and Qing dynasties, the festival became more of what it looks like today with firecrackers and entertainment.
Each year, the date of the holiday depends on the lunar calendar. Lu said China is traditionally a farm country, and many people use the lunar calendar over the solar calendar.
“There are five major festivals in Chinese culture and the new year celebration is the biggest one,” she said. “Each big festival of the Chinese calendar has special food.” For the new year celebration, she said they eat fish.
More than 1.5 billion people celebrate the holiday. The Lunar New Year is celebrated in other Asian cultures as well, including Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
As China reopens its borders after closures due to the pandemic, the government said they expect more than 2 billion trips to be made during the 40-day travel period around the holiday.
The Lunar New Year starts with the first new moon and festivities last up to 15 days. During this time, a lot of businesses tend to close as well.
This year is the year of the rabbit.