Varied celebrations throughout Asia . . .
Asian cultures have different – and diverse – ways of celebrating the new year, with many societies following the lunar rather than the solar calendar. Others follow a mix of the two, with old traditions inserted into the Western calendar. Mongolians and Tibetans use the Tibetan lunar calendar and their celebrations will be held on February 25. The Thai New Year (Songkran) is celebrated in Thailand, Laos, and other parts of Southeast Asia in April. Japan observed the lunar year (Setsubun) until 1873, when the government decided to modernize its calendar and adapt more Western celebrations.
China extends holiday due to health crisis . . .
Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated not only in mainland China, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan. South Korea and Vietnam celebrate their lunar new year around the same time as China. Every year, the holiday sees the world’s highest concentration of travellers, with some seven million Chinese expected to travel this year before the viral outbreak. The Chinese calendar is organized into cycles of 12 years, each year devoted to an animal specifically chosen for its symbolism. This is the year of the rat.
Celebrations cut short . . .
This year’s Lunar New Year celebrations are being overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese authorities have extended the holiday until February 2 in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, and the government of Shanghai extended the holiday until February 9. Lockdowns have affected not only Wuhan, the hub of the crisis, but 17 other cities that are home to some 50 million people. Drastic suspensions of group tourism to popular destinations in China and Thailand have already cost more than C$2.1 billion. The number of reported cases and the death toll from the coronavirus continue to rise, and many diaspora celebrations were cancelled or scaled down in the Vancouver and Toronto areas.
- Asia Society: Celebrating the New Year in Asia
- Chinese New Year Net: Chinese zodiac
- Associated Press: China virus outbreak rams global tourism, costing billions