Celebrating the Lunar New Year

Posted: February 09, 2024

By Billy J. Choi-Gekas

Lunar New Year calligraphy by Billy J. Choi-Gekas, Graham LibraryFebruary 10, 2024 is the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a celebration of Spring’s arrival and the beginning of a new year based on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays of the year for East & Southeast Asians, and for all those who share in this tradition across the globe. It commemorates a time of welcoming a new season of life filled with abundance by giving honour and gratitude to all the work and contributions of one’s ancestors, as well as living family members, and preparing for the year’s work to come.

Each year of the lunisolar calendar is represented by one of twelve Zodiac Animals included in the twelve constellations along the Sun’s path through the cosmos. Simultaneously, there is the cycle of the 5 Great Elements that give qualities to the collective animal zodiac that sets the context for the year according to an individual’s constitution. The year 2024 is the time of the “Wood-Dragon” and you will see much iconography with dragons and the colours of gold, red, and green to celebrate and welcome in abundance, luck, and life!

Being of Korean descent, I celebrate 설날 Seollal by ceremonially cooking a lot of food for my ancestors, family, and friends (차례 Charye), and celebrating with them through feasting (음복 Eumbok), to gain blessings and bowing in reverence to Ancestors/Elders (세배 Sebae), playing games, and sharing gifts.

새해 복 많이 받으세요 (Saehae bok mani badeuseyo)!

Wishing everyone good luck, and a powerful, abundant Wood-Dragon Year!

Billy J. Choi-Gekas
Graham Library Circulation Supervisor

Image: Older style Chinese calligraph of “Tree/Wood” and “Dragon” by Billy J. Choi-Gekas

[Source: Graham Library & Trinity Archives News: February 2024]