Lunar New Year: It’s Almost Here

Delectable sweet rice cakes? Vibrant lion dances? And envelopes full of money? The Year of the Rat (January 25th) is around the corner, and we want to help you join in on the five-star fun!

Lunar New Year is a tradition for more than 1.5 billion people. Not familiar? Well, fear not! Here are some quick facts about one of the world’s biggest celebrations: 

What is Lunar New Year?

In contrast to the more commonly known Gregorian calendar (movement of the earth around the sun) the start of the new moon falls sometime between January 21st and February 20th. And like any New Year, it hopes to usher in improved health, wealth, and happiness.

The Year of the Rat? Really?!

Many stories explaining the 12 zodiac animals exist, but one of the most well-known tells a story of a 12-animal race organized by the Jade Emperor (a Daoist deity).

Who celebrates it? 

The Lunar New Year is popularly known to be celebrated by Chinese (Xin Nian). Vietnamese (Tet) and Koreans (Seollal) celebrate on this date, too. Tibetans, Khmer, Mongolians, and other celebrate the Lunar New Year, but they use a different calendar (with different dates). 

Um, how can I join in on the fun?

Attend an Event: This weekend, whip out your Yelp app and search Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean churches, temples, and community centers near you. Many of them are open to the public to attend and usually free or at a minimal cost.

  • Asian Society Texas Center: Houston, TX


Go out to eat: You can also support by dining at authentic local restaurants. Don’t know what to order? Dumplings, noodles, and sweet rice cakes are a good start. 


Give gifts: Pick up a little something at a local market like a bottle of alcohol, a fresh fruit basket, or tea. Or you can go the extra mile by giving new, fresh money (crisp bills only!) in a special red or white envelope. Stay away from giving mirrors, sharp objects, and clocks. They bring bad luck. 


And of course, wish your friends, family and loved ones, a “Happy New Year”:

San Nin Faai Lok (Cantonese)

Xin Nian Kuai Le (Mandarin)

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới (Vietnamese)

Sae Hae Book Mani Padu Seyo (Korean)


Sending the global Yelp community best wishes for wealth, health, and happiness this Lunar New Year. Tag us at @Yelp in any of your celebrations!