Celebrating Lunar New Year

Celebrating Lunar New Year

Posted on Feb 6th 2024

Starting on February 10th, almost 2 billion people (or 20% of the global population) will celebrate Lunar New Year 2024! This joyous and meaningful celebration goes on for over two weeks, and 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon. Keep reading to learn about the holiday and tips to honor and enjoy it, including ideas for hosting your own Lunar New Year gathering.

First, let’s talk a bit about the history and meanings behind the holiday. Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The origins of the holiday stem from a legend of the mythical beast, Nian, who would eat livestock and people on the eve of a new year. It’s said that a wise old man discovered Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red. This led the villagers to place red lanterns and red scrolls on their windows to stop him from coming inside their homes, and they lit firecrackers to scare Nian away. As the legend goes it worked, and Nian never returned!

The holiday has come to be known as a time to cleanse the home and sweep away ill fortune to make room for good luck, as well as to welcome the coming warming weather.

Let’s explore some fun ways to celebrate and honor the New Year:


The color red is a very important part of the New Year celebration as it represents happiness and good fortune. Red is often brought into the important tradition of Paper Cutting Arts. These beautiful works of folk art are hung in home windows and sometimes called chuāng huā, which translates to window flower. With 2024 being the Year of the Dragon, you might incorporate dragons into your decorations. Paper Cutting Art is a fun activity to do with your party guests, adults and kids alike, and a great opportunity for everyone to learn about an important tradition and the history behind it.

The Lantern Festival is a wonderful and “illuminating” event in many Lunar New Year celebrations. All types of lanterns are lit throughout the streets and often poems and riddles are written for entertainment. People will also write wishes on the side of the lantern and let it fly off into the heavens, hoping their wishes will come true in the new year. Consider hosting your own Lantern Festival celebration or attending a community event if there’s one near you.


Food is a major part of the Lunar New Year celebration. If you host your own gathering, here a few traditional foods you can prepare for your guests:

  • Eight Treasures Rice, which contains rice, walnuts, different colored dry fruits, raisins, sweet red bean paste, jujube dates, and almonds
  • “Tang Yuan”, or Chinese glutinous rice balls with a sweet, black sesame filling.
  • “Song Gao”, which translates to “loose cake,” is made of rice which has been coarsely ground and then formed into a small, sweet round cake.
  • “Jiu Niang Tang” – a sweet wine-rice soup which contains small rice balls.
  • Dumplings & Noodles - Dumplings represent wealth due to their resemblance to ancient gold ingots (a form of China’s currency) and lengthy, pliable strands of noodles embody longevity and how our lives have many twists and turns.

Walker’s can add to your festive dessert offerings with a fun and easy shortbread tray with oranges as shown above made with Walker’s Shortbread Fingers. In China, oranges (mandarins in particular) are symbols of good luck and have been presented as gifts for centuries.


It is a tradition during the Lunar New Year to gift money in red envelopes to those close to you. These special red envelopes symbolize a wish for the receiver to have a safe and peaceful year. Including these in your own celebration would be a fantastic way to honor a major tradition of the holiday, and share in the hope of a happy and healthy new year.

Gifts of any kind are also a part of the Lunar New Year tradition, and Walker’s Shortbread makes a wonderful host or hostess gift, as well as a perfect gift for those who come to your celebration. Whether it’s our Simple Pleasures Gift Basket or our Best Seller Assortment Gift, we have a variety of delicious treats to help ring in the Lunar New Year.

We hope you’ve learned some important and helpful information about what makes Lunar New Year so special and are excited to celebrate this upcoming holiday!