How familiar are you with the Lunar New Year, considered by billions of people around the world to be the most important holiday of the year? Read below for fun and interesting facts to test your knowledge and learn how Verizon Wireless is participating in the festivities this year.
- Worldwide celebration.
Lunar New Year is not just commemorated in Asia but in countries around the world with large Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities. Here in the United States, the holiday is celebrated with festivals and parades in major cities across the country. Verizon Wireless has joined in on the excitement and is a proud sponsor of some of the largest festivities taking place this year.
- Represented by an animal.
Each year, the Lunar New Year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This year represents the Year of the Goat. People who are born in the year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle, mild-mannered and amicable with a strong sense of justice. Famous people who are Goats include Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Gates, Chris Pratt, Adam Levine and Shailene Woodley.
- Different date each year.
The exact date for Lunar New Year varies from year to year because the lunar calendar is based on cycles of the moon. It usually falls between January 21st and February 20th on the western calendar, which follows the cycles of the sun. For the ever-forgetful person, this is a great excuse to use for not remembering the date.
- Longest and most important celebration in Asia.
Festivities start on the first day of the first lunar month and last until the fifteenth, when the moon is full and the brightest. In China, students may get as much as a month off from school for the holiday. At the end of the 15-day celebration, people light lanterns to hang outside their homes and on the streets as the Lantern Festival, also known as the Spring Festival, signifies the coming of spring.
- Family, family, family.
The Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate families and partake in reunion dinners. It is traditional to make dumplings or rice cakes on New Year’s Eve and ring in the New Year together. If you are unable to be with family this February, you can connect with your loved ones overseas for as low as 2 cents per minute by adding the $20 Call the World shared international long distance option to your calling plan.
- Largest seasonal migration.
Billions of people in China travel back to their hometowns each year during the Lunar New Year period to reunite with their families. This doesn’t even include the millions of overseas Chinese who might visit their home country as well. This makes it the largest seasonal migration on earth. For anyone brave enough to join in this travel rush, Verizon Wireless’ line of Global Ready smart phones are SIM-unlocked and ready to be used in more than 220 countries worldwide.
- Seeing red.
Red is considered the color of good fortune and joy. From house decorations to clothing, red is incorporated into the holiday as much as possible. Children are gifted red envelopes called “lucky bags” stuffed with money from their parents and other married couples. Some retailers in Asia countries give out a “lucky bag” stuffed with mystery merchandises to their customers. This Lunar New Year, you too can receive your own digital “lucky bag” at participating Verizon Wireless stores for a chance to win two round-trip airline tickets to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei or Seoul, plus a Global Ready™ smartphone of choice.
- Loud and noisy.
Fireworks and firecrackers are set off all throughout Lunar New Year because loud noises are believed to scare off evil spirits, especially a mythical beast called Nian (Year). When ignited together, the deafening explosions can be heard from miles away. Just as Americans count down to the New Year, firecrackers are lit on the streets in Asia to make sure the New Year begins with a bang.
Bonus: There are 8 facts here because the number 8 in Chinese sounds similar to “prosper” or “wealth” and it is believed to be a lucky number that will bring good fortune.
For more information about the “lucky bag” sweepstakes at participating Verizon Wireless store locations, visit: www.verizonwireless.com/lunarnewyear