Steeped in tradition, Lunar New Year is a predominantly South-East Asian celebration that begins on the first new moon of the lunar cycle and ends with a lantern festival on the next full moon. For most of us, when we think about Lunar New Year, dancing dragons, red lanterns and, of course, red envelopes filled with money spring to mind. But Lunar New Year isn’t just about gifts, it’s about family, new beginnings and manifesting your good fortune.
The Lunar New Year also happens to be a precarious time, with a number of rituals to ensure your household maintains good fortune for the year to come. For instance, one of the most common traditions is to clean your home on the 24th day of the 12th lunar month. Cleaning allows you to drive out all of the bad luck from the previous year and begin anew. Just don’t leave it until the actual day — then you’d be causing bad luck.
Read on if you’re looking for a Lunar New Year gift that’s more than just a red envelope.
When is Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year often falls between January 21st and February 20th each year. This year, Lunar New Year (sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival) begins on February 1, 2022. And this year, we’re kicking off with Year of the Tiger.
If you were born on 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, or 2022, sorry to break it to you tigers, but you’re in for a rough one. That’s because people who are born in the year of their zodiac sign are believed to suffer from bad luck. But that’s okay, just wear some more red and hopefully you’ll make it through.
If you’re not familiar with the story about how the Chinese Zodiac came to be, this is how it happened. According to legend, the Jade Emperor invited a number of animals to his palace, and asked them to cross a great river for a race. The first twelve animals to make it across would be declared the winners and would enjoy a year named after them. The tiger was the third animal to cross the finish line, following the rat and the ox, which means we’re now entering the third year of the 12-year cycle.
To commemorate the tiger’s accomplishment, you’ll see a range of tiger-themed presents in stores as well, as character statuettes used as decorations.
Here’s 9 gifts that will bring good fortune (or just a nice smile) to your loved one’s faces this Lunar New Year.
Apples, oranges or kumquats are all fruits you need if you’re going to celebrate Lunar New Year. It’s tradition to eat round fruits on the day to bring good fortune in the new year. This is because circles are quite prevalent across Chinese culture and are thought to represent the idea of success or abundance. If you want to give your household a lucky boost, make room for a bowl of round fruits on your dining table.
If you’re travelling to a relative’s house to celebrate Lunar New Year, make sure you bring a beautiful bouquet of flowers to surprise them. While there are thousands of different flowers to choose between, only a few are associated with good fortune. These include peach blossoms, death lillies, peonies and orchids.
Since red and gold are considered the luckiest colours in Chinese culture, try to bypass anything white or black as they’re usually associated with mourning.
At EasyFlowers, you can shop a wide range of floral bouquets that will make the perfect Lunar New Year present, like these red orchids for $49.
Get ready to see red and a lot of it. It’s no secret that it’s the most popular colour in Asian cultures and there’s a number of interpretations why it’s considered the luckiest colour: from its association with imperial status to its likeness with fire and blood.
Regardless of its true meaning, red takes the forefront each new year and there’s no better way to get in the festive spirit than by wearing a touch of red.
An easy way to work it into your wardrobe is with this pair of stunning Adidas joggers. We guarantee they’ll not only make you look the part, but they’ll also make you run faster.
For some families, Lunar New Year upholds the tradition of the younger generation serving tea to their elders. If you want to gift a useful present that will honour Year of the Tiger, then this Jungle Dreaming tea set by T2 is both handy and on theme.
Pair it with a packet of aromatic jasmine tea or oolong to make it a delightful bundle.
Long noodles are a welcome sight at Lunar New Year dinners since they’re a symbol of longevity and health. Each year, many restaurants serve a specialty dish dubbed “the long noodle”, which is a wide flat noodle served in a deep bowl. Just don’t cut them, or your life might be cut short too. Just kidding (kinda).
So with your family dinner well-prepared ahead of the great feast, you might want to add a collection of noodle bowls to the list. These melamine black and red bowls are both sturdy and built to serve noodles for a lifetime. It comes as part of a 16-piece set with utensils included.
Just make sure you set out enough places at the dining table for more than four people — four is thought to be an unlucky number because of how closely it sounds to the word “death” in Chinese.
Lunar New Year-themed gifts
Makeup and skincare
To embody the spirit of Lunar New Year, a pop of bright red and gold makeup never fails to impress. Many makeup and skincare brands love to jump on board with the celebrations and offer a wide range of stunning imperial-inspired looks so you can look your best at the family get-together.
Check out these gorgeous products below:
- Clinique Cheek Pop Highlighter Limited Edition — $42
- Kiehl’s Lunar New Year Limited Edition Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask — $51
- NARS Special Deco eyeshadow quad — $70
- Clinique Decorated Jumbo Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion — $70
- Dr Dennis Gross Lunar New Year Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel — $125
- Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi Recovery Complex Serum — $159
If you can’t be with your loved ones on the big day, gift them this Everlasting Fortune hamper to make sure their night feels extra special. Packed with Monista Tea Co.’s garden green loose leaf tea, some lucky candy, fortune cookies and red envelopes, this hamper will make them feel like they’re part of the celebration, no matter how far away they might be.
After a night of eating and cradling that fully belly of yours, nothing is more fun than breaking out a good board game or two. For the occasion, Hasbro has released a limited edition Lunar New Year-themed Monopoly board.
Suitable for 2-6 players, this edition features Lunar New Year-inspired tokens including a lion head, a bull, a firecracker and even a pile of tangerines. However, instead of seeking to monopolise the board by buying as much property as you can without going bankrupt, the aim of the game is to buy shops, collect gifts and find good fortune to win.
If I were a kid celebrating Lunar New Year, there’s nothing I’d want more than a LEGO Spring Lantern Festival model to build. This LEGO set has so much going on: from the selfie takers on the mini bridge, to the man holding a red lantern and to the guy stuffing his face with what looks like a bowl of congee. You can shop it here for $259.99.
Or you can grab this Chinese Festivals Lunar New Year model with five precious rooms that feature traditional activities such as food shopping, making good-luck decorations and exchanging red envelopes. You can get this wholesome LEGO set for $109.99 here.
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