January 1st marks the start of the Gregorian calendar, which most of the modern world uses. However, lunar solar calendars (based on moon cycles) kick off 2022 on a completely different date. This year, February 1st marks the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Chinese New Year and is the perfect excuse to celebrate a fresh start and welcome in prosperity for the year ahead. Any excuse for a party right?
The Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world and usually prompts the planet’s biggest annual migration of people, as relatives head home or travel to be with one another. This important day is marked by themes of hope and reunion. It is traditionally a time for family and friend to come together, enjoy an abundance of food, and plenty of noisy celebrations, including fireworks at midnight. As you can imagine, festivities have looked very different since the start of the pandemic but, with restrictions now lifted, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate by having a meal with the ones you love.
Worried about where to sit everyone when they come over? Then treat yourself to some new sustainable LifestyleGarden furniture, which can be used outdoors if it’s a bit of a squeeze in your dining room or indoors if the weather isn’t on your side. Take your pick from the stunning 6-seater Chamonix and Rinjani teak table or, for ultra-low maintenance aluminum furniture, the Portals 8-seater set. For larger gatherings, consider the Rinjani rectangular big table that perfectly match with the Manhattan chairs, if you are looking for optimum comfort for your guests.
Shake off the old year
It may not sound like the most exciting way to celebrate but actually cleaning is a big part of the rituals surrounding the Lunar New Year and is considered the best way to drive away any bad luck from the previous year and prepare for a fresh start. Make sure this is all done before the main event though because cleaning is forbidden on the first day of the New Year in case you wipe away any bad luck! The perfect excuse to shirk off housework for a day if you ask us!
If you want to do more than just clean and think that your indoor or outdoor furniture could do with sprucing up too, then look no further than LifestyleGarden for a wide range of care and maintenance accessories.
For wooden furniture, reach for the Wood Cleaner, which uses a non-hazardous, water-based formula to clean dirt and grime from wood, helping to bring it back to its original color. Follow up with the Wood Sealer oil to further nourish and restore the natural color and grain of the wood. All can be found in our Amazonia Teak Maintenance Kit.
Equally, it’s not just the house that gets freshened up, as it is also traditional to buy new clothes for the occasion – ideally something red or at least colorful but avoid black or white.
Join in with the festivities
Sadly, the annual Chinese New Year parades have been cancelled again this year due to Covid, so you won’t be able to participate in the usual way. However, there’s nothing to stop you paying a visit to your nearest Chinatowns to see the decorations and maybe get a bite to eat.
Alternatively, there are a number of other festivities you can enjoy at home, including ancient ancestral rituals, or decorating the house with red to scare off the Chinese mythical beast Nian, who, legend says, would make an appearance on New Year’s Eve, destroying crops, eating livestock and terrorizing people. Firecrackers and fireworks are also traditionally set off at midnight to chase the monster away, as he is said to be frightened by loud noises, bright lights and the color red. Many will have fireworks displays on the evening but, if you are looking for an eco-friendlier way to celebrate and also get children involved in the fun activity, bang drums, gongs, cymbals, saucepans, whatever you have to hand to chase Nian and bad luck off for the year ahead.
And, don’t think celebrations end there because two weeks later, on February 15th (the first full moon of the Lunar New Year) the Chinese celebrate with a lantern festival, marking the end of their fortnight-long Spring Festival. As the festival looks towards the start of spring, lanterns are seen as lighting the way, which is why shops and restaurants will hang them outside to mark the occasion. You can make your own at home very easily using red and gold paper or card.
Again, this festival calls for family to come together for a meal. A traditional dish called tangyaun (rice balls served in soup) is served and people often enjoy riddles, which can be hung from lanterns for guests to guess, with prizes for the winner.