Fun facts about Lunar New Year and the Year of the Monkey

Fun facts about Lunar New Year and the Year of the Monkey

Happy Lunar New Year! Happy Year of the Monkey! Here are some fun facts about Lunar New Year (often called Chinese New Year) generally and specifically about the Year of the Monkey.

What is Lunar New Year? When does it happen?

Lunar New Year falls on a different date each year, but it is always on the second moon after the winter solstice.  This year, the Year of the Monkey, begins on February 8 and ends on January 27, 2017. While people often call the event Chinese New Year, many different cultures celebrate the occasion and Lunar New Year is considered a more accurate and inclusive name for the holiday.

Festivities for Lunar New Year usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.  They are both part of a larger celebration, known as the Spring Festival. If you're hinking "But it's not Spring yet," you're right, but that's the point - thinking spring is intended to be a bright spot of happy anticipation in the dreary days of winter.

This year, New York City schools are closed in observance of Lunar New Year.

Why are oranges or tangerines eaten around Lunar New Year? Chinese-New-Year

Eating, and even just displaying, oranges and tangerines is thought to bring good luck. It's even better if leaves are still attached to the fruit, as they are signs of longevity.

Other auspicious foods include whole chicken, whole fish, dumplings and lettuce.

What other years are Year of the Monkey?

Prior to this year, the Year of the Monkey was most recently celebrated in 2004.  If you have an 11-year-old, chances are that kiddo was born in the Year of the Monkey.

1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, and 1944 were also Year of the Monkey.

The next Year of the Monkey will be 2028.

What characteristics do people born in the Year of the Monkey have?

Anyone born in the Year of the Monkey is thought to be quick-witted and charming, so it's no surprise that they're seen a sociable. They are also said to be adaptable and innovative, as well as bright and versatile.

Just like real monkeys, people born in the Year of the Monkey are considered lively, mischievous and clever.

On the downside, monkeys are also seen as a bit irritable.

What famous people were born in the Year of the Monkey?

Julius Caesar
Leonardo da Vinci
Betsy Ross
Charles Dickens
Annie Oakley
Eleanor Roosevelt
Elizabeth Taylor
Alice Walker
Tom Hanks
Selena Gomez

You can find more information about the Year of the Monkey and the Chinese Zodiac here.

What's with the dancing animals?

Dragon dances are often part of the New Year celebrations because they are thought to bring good luck. It is thought that the longer the dragon is, the more good luck the community will see in the coming year. Lion dances, performed by two people, are also performed because lions are thought to be auspicious animals. You can see a lion dance here:

Sources: The Telegraph, Refinery29.com, ChinaHighlights.com, Gothamist

You May Also Like: 5 Ways to celebrate Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, with kids

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