The Year of the Pig

Gong Xi Fa Cai!  In Chinese that means “May you attain greater wealth.”  This is a common greeting that over 2.1 Billion people around the world will wish each other in celebration of the Lunar New Year (LNY) on February 5th.  Growing up in South East Asia, I have been very privileged to have celebrated LNY in other countries around the world. I always remembered receiving red envelopes from relatives, family, and friends which contained “lucky money,” a traditional gift during the new year, and stuffing my face full of dumplings and celebratory foods.  LNY celebrations last up to two weeks in some countries.  Although these are my fond childhood memories, I should probably explain what LNY is.

What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is sometimes also known as Spring Festival in China, Tết Nguyên Đán (Fest of the First Morning of the First Day) in Vietnam, or Seollal in South Korea.  It is also celebrated in places like Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and many others.  It is tied directly to the Lunar calendar and begins on the first new moon and ends on the first full moon 15 days later.  Every LNY starts with a new animal’s zodiac, with 2019 ushering in the Year of the Pig.  There are 12 Chinese Zodiac animals each corresponding to a different year which all have different meanings.  To commemorate this, major brands like Coach, Pandora, and Gucci have created a dedicated Lunar New Year collection with flying pig brooches and apparel.  To make their campaigns stand out, it is especially important to use key colors such as red and gold that symbolize prosperity and joy when marketing.  It is also great to use cute cartoon art to appeal to the customers who celebrate LNY.

Why is it important?

As with the new year for western cultures, as the year comes to a close, it is a time to tie up loose ends and get things in order for the beginning of the new year with a fresh start and clean slate.  If you read last week’s dose on the KonMari method of tidying up and applied it, then you should be ready to usher in the new year!  It is also a time to look at past misfortunes and examine oneself introspectively and bid goodbye to the bad luck and attitude of the last year.  There are many superstitions associated, such as not washing hair or clothes on the first day of the year because it is seen as washing away your fortune.  During this time families reunite, give gifts, celebrate and feast together.  It is estimated that 200 Million Mainland Chinese travel long distances during these holidays and tens of millions in other countries travel as well which makes it one of the largest annual human migrations in the world.  To so many around the world, Lunar New Year is ones of the most important holidays.  If someone you know celebrates it, wish them prosperity and good fortune in the coming new year.  And if you are interested in checking out some celebrations, I have listed a few major locations with some of the largest celebrations where you can experience the festivities too.


Los Angeles & Orange County

Golden Dragon Parade – Feb 9th, Chinatown, N Broadway

Chinese New Year Festival and Parade – Feb 17th, Chinatown, N Broadway

Tet Festival – Feb 8th-10th, OC Fairgrounds


San Francisco

Year of the Pig Chinese New Year Parade – Feb 23rd, Chinatown



19th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration – Feb 7th, International House of Philadelphia

Lunar New Year at the Rail Park – Feb 9th, Noble and 12th St

Lion Dance Parade – Feb 10th, Chinatown


New York City

Lunar New Year Parade and Festival – Feb 17th, Chinatown, Lower Manhattan

Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar – Feb 17th, Flushing Town Hall


Las Vegas

Botanical Gardens Display – Jan-Mar, Bellagio’s Arcadia

New Year Festival – Feb 6th – Feb 9th, LINQ Hotel

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