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Lunar New Year 2023: Year of the Rabbit

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit (or cat, depending on which calendar you follow)!

The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is a celebration of the new year that begins Sunday, Jan. 22, and ends on Sunday, Feb. 5. It is celebrated around the globe, particularly in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Tibet.

Referred to by many as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, the Lunar New Year lasts up to 16 days. In China, the first seven days are considered a public holiday.

RABBIT OR CAT

The Lunar New Year also marks the change of signs on the Chinese zodiac calendar. In 2022, it was the year of the Tiger, and now in 2023, it’s the year of the Rabbit.

In Vietnam, there are multiple explanations for why the Vietnamese Zodiac has a cat. Some say the word for rabbit in Chinese, which is pronounced “mao,” was misinterpreted as it sounds like “mèo” in Vietnamese. While others reference a myth of a feast held by either Buddha or the Jade Emperor in which a race among animals determined the zodiac order. Some legends say the cat finishes in fourth place, while in others, the cat is disqualified or was pushed into the river by the rat.

SOUTH KOREA

South Koreans celebrate Seollal, or Korean Near Year, which is considered one of the major traditional holidays. Seollal starts either around January or February, depending on the year, and lasts around three years.

This year, Seollal lands on January 22 and families will start gathering the day before. Traditionally, families can enjoy Tteokguk, or Korean Rice Cake Soup, which is a beef broth soup topped with seaweed, eggs and rice cakes. The dish is believed to bring good luck.

RED ENVELOPES

Children bow or kneel on the ground to their elders to show respect and wish them luck for the new year. in response, the elders gift the children sebetdon-money usually inside an envelope.

Similarly, Hóng bāo, or red envelopes, are given in Chinese culture during the Lunar New Year. Hóng bāo are called lai see in Cantonese and ang pow in Hokkien. The color red of the envelope is used to represent prosperity.

Inside these decorated envelopes are various amounts of cash. They are given to children and the elderly to represent best wishes. In Chinese tradition, elders and, in some parts, married couples give the envelopes to children, unmarried family members and friends.

The Lunar New Year is a chance for a fresh start; the annual festival includes cleaning, cleansing, hanging banners, food preparation and eating with loved ones. People typically travel home from wherever they are to see loved ones for a few days up to a few weeks.

SD Lunar New Year Festival (Jan. 20-22)
Where: Jeremy Henwood Park; Cost: Free
Celebrate the new year with folk and traditional performances, art, cultural exhibitions, costume contests, photo ops, kids activities, and much more

Chinese New Year Festival (Jan. 20-22)
Where: International Cottages at Balboa Park; Cost: Free
Balboa Park’s House of China will celebrate Chinese New Year at Balboa Park starting at 11 a.m. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of food, live entertainment and fun for the whole family.

San Diego Tet Festival (Jan. 27-29)
Where: Mira Mesa Community Park; Cost: Free
San Diego’s annual Tet Festival celebrates the Lunar New Year with live entertainment, giveaways, performances from A-list Vietnamese artists, and much more.

Annual San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair (Feb. 4-5)
Where: Downtown San Diego; Cost: Free
Join the San Diego Chinese New Year Fair for a free event with musical performances, acrobatics and other live entertainment, handicrafts, and more

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