Celebrating the Lunar New Year: in China, in Korea…and in Dublin!

Join the celebrations for the Lunar New Year this Saturday, January 25th! Here is a guide on the event and what you can expect to find in Dublin on that day.

Also known as the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year marks the start of a new lunar calendar, and it is celebrated by many people across Asia. It is said to be the last day of winter and the start of the warmer spring days! It is therefore welcomed with various celebrations all over the world. Here is a quick look on some of them! You will then also find further information on how to properly celebrate the festivity here in Dublin.

Chinese celebrations


(as previously featured on our blog, on January 31st, 2019)

It’s all about the decorations! Traditionally, the Chinese put up red posters with poetic verses to their doors, Chinese New Year pictures on their walls, and decorate their homes with red lanterns. Everything is supposed to be red, which is believed to be a colour related to success.

Interestingly, Chinese New Year is a holiday that causes the largest human migration in the world. This is due to the fact that it is very important for the Chinese to return home for New Year’s Eve dinner. Usually, whole families will sit together to watch the New Year Gala on TV featuring traditional performances from China’s best singers and dancers.

In addition, people also believe that setting off fireworks will cast away any bad luck and bring good luck. This is the reason why each year the Chinese New Year is the day when most fireworks are being set off in the world! Other important traditions include giving ‘Lucky Money’ to the kids. It is supposed to bring good luck and health. Red is the lucky colour and therefore the money is always hidden in red envelopes.

Each Chinese year is represented by one of the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac. It is believed that the characters of those born in a given year are influenced by the representative animal. This new year will be the Year of the Rat!

Korean celebrations


In Korea, the celebrations for the New Year (Seolnal) last for three days: The day before the New Year, New Year’s day, and the day after. During this time, many Koreans visit family, perform ancestral rites, wear the traditional garment known as the hanbok(한복), eat traditional food, and play folk games. Additionally, children often receive money or words of wisdom from their elders after performing a formal bow (seh bae). 

The deepest bows are usually reserved to the oldest generations. The young usually pay visit to them during this time, in order to give blessings for the New Year (“saehae bok manee badesaeyo”). This same bow is often also performed for the deceased ancestors, whom Korean families also offer food and drinks to, as a way to honour them. 

The traditional foods of the Korean celebrations vary from region to region, although the most common ones use rice, meat and seafood. The most famous one is the New Year’s soup, but you will also find that families share other staple dishes of the Korean tradition, such as a rice cake dish also known as Ddokboggi, Glass-noodle, Kimchi and cookies.

This Lunar New Year in Dublin:

This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy all things Korean, during the celebrations organised by the Korean Society of Ireland. They will be hosting a Lunar New Year Party on Saturday, January 25th ,with plenty of Korean traditional activities and snacks!

Here, you will have the chance to learn how to write your name in Korean, join one of the many folk games and activities and eat as much Korean food as your heart desires!! Check out this poster for more information, or simply drop by at our reception to learn more 🙂

You can also find other activities organised by Dublin City Council for this Lunar New Year here: https://www.dublinchinesenewyear.com/


Written by Maria Anna Saija