Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year is particularly celebrated in East Asia, influenced by the Chinese New Year and the Chinese Calendar. It is also a feature of the Hindu-Buddhist calendars of South and Southeast Asia, the Islamic calendar and the Jewish calendar.
The modern East Asian Lunar New Year celebrations usually fall on the same date across the region (which occurs in late January or early February).
The following were derived from the Chinese New Year in ancient history, but are completely unique to their own cultures, using traditional Chinese calendar but sometimes with different interpretations, zodiacs or traditions. China, Korea and Vietnam still celebrate them in addition to the Solar New Year, whilst Japan has their own version. They occur on similar dates:
- Chinese New Year (春節 Spring Festival )
- Vietnamese New Year (Tết nguyên Đán)
- Korean New Year (설날 Seollal )
- Japanese New Year (正月 Shōgatsu) (present) – Ryukyu (prior to 1873)
The following are influenced by the Chinese calendar during the long history of China:
Before new year celebration was formed, ancient Chinese gathered around and celebrated at the end of harvest in autumn. However, the celebration is not Mid-Autumn Festival, during which Chinese gathered with family and worship the moon. In the Classic of Poetry, a poem written during Western Zhou (1045 BC – 771 BC), by an anonymous farmer, described how people cleaned up millet stack-sites, toasted to guests with mijiu, killed lambs and cooked the meat, went to their master's home, toasted to the master, and cheered for long lives together, in the 10th month of an ancient solar calendars, which was in autumn. The celebration is believed to be one of the prototypes of the Chinese New Year.
The first dated Chinese new year celebration can be traced back to Warring States period (475 BC – 221 AD). In Lüshi Chunqiu, a exorcistic ritual called "Big Nuo (大儺)" was recorded being carried out in the ending day of a year to expel illness in Qin (state). Later, after Qin unified China and the Qin dynasty was founded, the ritual was continued. It evolved to cleaning up houses thoroughly in the preceding days of Chinese New Year.
The first mentioning of celebration of the start of a new year was recorded in Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). In the book Simin Yueling (四民月令), written by Eastern Han's agronomist and writer Cui Shi (崔寔), celebration was recorded by stating "The starting day of the first month, is called ‘Zheng Ri’. I bring my wife and children, to worship ancestors and commemorate my father." Later he wrote: "Children, wife, grandchildren, and great grandchildren all serve pepper wine to their parents, make their toast, and wish their parents good health. It's a thriving view." People also went to acquaintances' homes and wished each others happy new year. In Book of the Later Han Volume 27, 吴良, a county officer was recorded going to his prefect's house with a government secretary, toasting to the prefect and praising the prefect's merit.
The earliest references to Korean New Year are found in 7th century in Chinese historical works, the Book of Sui and the Old Book of Tang, containing excerpts of celebrations during the New Year in the Silla Kingdom, back when the kingdom's calendar was influenced by Tang dynasty's calendaric system.
The earliest celebration of Lunar New Year in Vietnam is believed brought by Zhao Tuo, a Qin dynasty Chinese general, the first king of Nanyue and the founder of the Nanyue 2000 years ago. In 204 BCE, Zhao Tuo established the Nanyue Kingdom, which is composed of Guangxi, Guangdong and Northern Vietnam today. Chinese policies, cultures, traditions such as Lunar New Year were brought in the times when he ruled Northern Vietnam.
Officially, the first Vietnamese new year can be traced back to Ly dynasty (1009 AD - 1226 AD), various Vietnamese documents recorded how people paint tattoos on themselves, gather together and drink traditional Vietnamese rice liquor, welcome guests to eat Chung cakes, etc. During the period of King Le Thanh Tong (1442 AD - 1497 AD), Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) was considered the most important festival in Vietnam.
These South Asian traditional lunisolar celebrations are observed according to the local lunisolar calendars. They are influenced by Indian tradition, which marks the system of lunar months in a solar sidereal year. A separate solar new year also exists for those Indian regions which use solar months in a solar sidereal year.
- Gudi Padwa: Maharashtra and Goa.
- Ugadi: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka
- Chaitra Navaratri: North and Central India
- Balipratipada: Gujarat, Rajasthan
- Cheti Chand: Sindhi Hindus
- Navreh: Kashmiri Hindus
- Sajibu Cheiraoba: Manipur
- Mha Puja: Nepal (Newaris)
The following are influenced by the Tibetan calendar:
Various lunar calendars continue to be used throughout India in traditional and religious life. However, they are different from the East Asian Lunar Calendar. The two most common lunar new year celebrations in India are Diwali, and Gudi Padwa/Ugadi/Puthandu.
In ancient times, the sun's entry into Aries coincided with the equinox. However, due to the earth's axial precession, the sidereal year is slightly longer than the tropical year, causing the dates to gradually drift apart. Today, the sun's entry into Aries occurs around 18 April, according to astronomical definitions. Some traditional calendars are still marked by the sun's actual movements while others have since been fixed to the Gregorian calendar.
The following Southeast Asian Lunar New Year celebration is observed according to the local lunisolar calendar and is influenced by Indian Hindu traditions.
The following Southeast Asian Lunar New Year celebration is observed according to the local lunisolar calendar and is influenced by Islamic traditions.
- Satu Suro (Javanese New Year): The Javanese calendar follows a purely lunar calendar of 12 months that retrogresses through the Gregorian and Julian calendar years. As in the Islamic calendar, the day of Javanese New Year may thus fall in any season on the calendar.
Lunar New Year celebrations that originated in Middle East fall on other days:
- In Judaism there are as many as four lunar new year observances. Since the Hebrew calendar is lunisolar, the days always fall in the same season.
- 1 Nisan is the month of the "barley ripening", or "spring" Aviv/Abib, and is the first month according to book of Exodus 12:1-2. The talmud in Rosh Hashanah (tractate) 2a calls this the Rosh HaShana, the new year, for kings and pilgrimages. The climax of this lunar new year is the festival of Passover, which begins on 15 Nisan/Abib (Aviv). It is also the first day of secular new years in Karaite Judaism and Samaritanism.
- 1 Elul corresponds to the New Year for Animal Tithes in the Rabbinic tradition. Elul is the sixth month, a very late summer/early autumn holiday. It is the date on which the Samaritan calendar advances a year, on the theory that 1 Elul commemorates the creation of the Earth.
- 1 Tishrei, is called Yom teruah, Day of (trumpet) Blasts in the written Torah, and it falls on the first of the "seventh month". It is translated Feast of Trumpets in most English bible translations. This Day of trumpet Blasts was also called Rosh Hashanah, literally "new year", in Rabbinic Judaism, on the theory that it is Yom haDin, a universal judgement day for all the children of Adam including Jews. Thus the universal, secular new year. It is the date on which the Rabbinic calendar advances a year, on the theory that 1 Tishrei is the day on which the world was born. Rosh Hashanah also inaugurates the ten days known as the High Holy Days/High Holidays or Days of Awe, culminating with Yom Kippur; which is the holiest day of the year in Rabbinic Judaism. For Samaritans and Karaites, Passover remains the holiest day of the year.
- Tu BiShvat is the New Year for Trees in Rabbinic Judaism. It is a festive holiday rather than a holy day
- Islamic New Year or Muslim New Year is not lunisolar but follows a purely lunar calendar of 12 months that retrogresses through the Gregorian and Julian calendar years. The day of Muslim New Year may thus fall in any season on the calendar.
- Ebionites new year
- Nazarene (sect) new year
Hobiyee, also spelled Hoobiyee, Hobiyee, Hobiiyee and Hoobiiyee, is the Nisg̱a'a new year celebrated every February / March. Nisg̱a'a are Indigenous people of Canada. It signifies the emergence of the first crescent moon and begins the month Buxw-laḵs. Celebrations of Hobiyee are done by Nisg̱a'a wherever they are located, but the largest celebrations are in Nisg̱a'a itself and in areas with a large Nisg̱a'a presence like Vancouver.
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