Lunar New Year


Dear Colleagues,

Happy 2023 to all colleagues in the Faculty. While many of us will have celebrated New Year on 1 January, for some of our university community it is the Lunar New Year that is the more significant celebration. Associated festivals or holidays that begin on 22 January are known by a variety of names, including Chunjie or Spring Festival in China,Tết Festival in Vietnam, and Seollal in Korea.

In this first of our holidays and observances greetings for 2023, we wish all of those celebrating the Lunar New Year an auspicious start to their year.

Andrew van der Vlies, Deputy Dean, People and Culture
Anne Hewitt, Associate Dean, Gender, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


What Lunar New Year means to me…

Dr Tin Kei Wong:

"The Chinese New Year is about gratitude and togetherness. It is a time for families to reunite and spend time together. It has always been the most important festival to me. When I was a kid, I loved the first few days of the new year because I could have lots of lollies, red packets (hongbao, small red envelopes filled with lucky money), and playtime with my cousins. Now, I look forward more to the reunion dinner (tuan nian fan) on the Lunar New Year's Eve. Every year, my mother prepares a full table of traditional dishes with names or ingredients that sound similar to words or phrases referring to the new year wishes. I feel so excited to finally get to reunite with my family in Hong Kong again this year. I need to eat more to make up for the two family feasts I missed due to the pandemic.  

The Chinese New Year date changes every year because it follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which is based on the moon and sun cycles. It is usually around 20 to 50 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Chinese New Year 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. Chinese people tend to talk about their zodiac animal signs when the new year comes, because they will check if their signs clash with Tai Sui (fan Tai Sui). In Chinese astrology, Tai Sui means the Guardian God of the Year, who governs a particular year's fortunes. Each year, a few zodiac animal signs clash with Tai Sui, and people of those signs are advised to take extra care to deal with turbulence and setbacks in life. Whether you believe this or not, it is a good reminder for us to take better care of ourselves and to reflect on our new year plan."

Dr Tin Kei Wong
Lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies,
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics


Lancy Xie writes:

"As an old saying goes, “a year’s plan starts with spring.” Lunar New Year is also known as the “Spring Festival” in China. Chinese people celebrate Spring Festival to make their great hopes for the year: “in with new, and out with old”.

When I was a child, family members from other cities or overseas would gather where my grandparents lived to celebrate Lunar New Year. Colourful fireworks and firecrackers bloomed, flaring. Bright red spring couplets with good omens were shared. A wonderful lion dance brought a strong festival atmosphere to the event. Back then, Lunar New Year meant joy and excitement for most kids.

By the end of the 20th century, the Spring Festival’s atmosphere changed with the ban on firecrackers and the passing away of the oldest generation in my family. We greet each other over the phone instead of gathering in person. Luckily, my favourite activities in Guangzhou, such as strolling at the flower fair and preparing special goods for New Year, were preserved. However, at that time, Lunar New Year to me was just one of many public holidays.

Even though I have not participated in traditional rituals since I left China, greeting parents, relatives, and friends with blessings are still essential on Lunar New Year’s Eve. We may have allowed many traditions to fade away, but one thing that remains unchanged is our anticipation for a brighter future at this Spring Festival."

Lancy Xie 
Faculty Administration Coordinator in the School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Tagged in People and Culture