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Celebrating Lunar New Year with Maya from MaiStoryBook

Happy Lunar New Year! Maya here, from MaiStoryBook, and to help celebrate Lunar New Year this year, I'm excited to collaborate with the Madison Reading Project to share some of my favorite festive read alouds and bookish crafts!

What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is the beginning of the new year based on the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on cycles of the moon and sun, and is generally 21-51 days behind the Gregorian (internationally-used) solar calendar that begins the New Year on January 1st.

Lunar New Year signals the beginning of a new year, and the beginning of Spring. The date of Lunar New Year changes every year, but it always falls between January 21st and February 20th. In 2023, Lunar New Year falls on January 22nd, and will begin the Year of the Rabbit or Cat (Vietnamese Zodiac).

Who celebrates Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian countries and other communities around the world, yet it is still commonly referred to as Chinese New Year. Rather than referring to the holiday in general as Chinese New Year, to be inclusive and respectful of all cultures that celebrate, refer to the holiday as Lunar New Year, or use the holiday name associated with each country when appropriate. Here is what Lunar New Year is called in some other countries:

Vietnam celebrates Tết Nguyên Đán (Tết for short)

Korea celebrates Seollal (설날)

China celebrates Chunjie (春节 - in Mandarin)

Mongolia celebrates Tsagaan Sar

Tibet celebrates Losar (Begins March 3, 2022)

Check out my blog to read about how I celebrate Lunar New Year and some of my favorite Tết traditions!

Book Recommendations

Below I’m highlighting a collection of Lunar New Year books. In this festive lineup, you’ll find legends of dragons and zodiac tales, colorful glowing lanterns and celebrations of the moon, and festivals of friends and family and feasts galore!

*Important note: Many of the Lunar New Year books available focus on Chinese New Year. There is a lack of representation of Lunar New Year celebrated by other countries. Hopefully we see more representation as more #ownvoices are encouraged to share their stories.*

Click here for the full list of Lunar New Year titles and links to order.

Board Books

Mau Cua Tết / The Colors of Tết by Tiny Wrist

Through an exploration of color and shades, little readers learn about the traditions of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The book is written in both Vietnamese and English, and includes a sticker set and a QR code for read alouds.

Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year by Ruth Spiro & Irene Chan

Discover the science behind the lunar phases while celebrating Chinese New Year! Explore the lunar calendar, the moon's orbit, and the reason the moon seems to change shape through adorable illustrations and informative text.