Quiz your family on these Lunar New Year facts!

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See how many of these Lunar New Year facts you and your kids already know, and how many are new to you.

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is celebrated by more than 2 billion people, making it one of the most widely observed holidays in the world. It represents the biggest holiday season of the year in China, where it is celebrated for 15 days.

Even if you already celebrate the holiday in your family, or your kids learned about it in school, there’s always more to learn — especially since it’s celebrated all around Asia and the diaspora in so many different ways!

Lunar New Year facts: Quiz for families

How much do you and your kids know about this mega holiday? After taking the quiz, let the questions and answers inspire you to learn more together!

Quiz your family on these Lunar New Year facts!
1. In China, Lunar New Year is more commonly called:

Answer: B) Spring Festival is another name for Chinese New Year, because the holiday celebrates the coming of spring. Chinese households and businesses commonly hang up signs with the word for “spring,” as well as banners with spring couplets (very short poems with two or three lines) on both sides of the door to welcome spring and put forth wishes for the new year.

2. The first Chinese New Year parade in the United States took place during which decade?

Answer: A) In the 1860s, Cantonese immigrants in San Francisco brought Chinese New Year traditions to the American public by organizing a parade in the city. The parade format was a uniquely American one, so the event represented a new kind of celebration! The New Year parade caught on, and became a long-running tradition in many cities around the U.S.

3. Which is a traditional food eaten on Lunar New Year?

Answer: D) All of the above — and many, many more! — are traditional Lunar New Year foods in various East and Southeast Asian cultures. Some of the foods have special significance: long noodles symbolize long life, whole fish symbolizes abundance, and winter fruits such as mandarin oranges, kumquats, and pomelos symbolize prosperity and good fortune. In addition, many people eat rice cakes, dumplings, rice balls, and countless other foods to commemorate the holiday.

4. Seollal is the name for Lunar New Year in what language?

Answer: C) Seollal is the Korean Lunar New Year. It is celebrated at the same time as Chinese Lunar New Year, but the cultural traditions vary. Seollal traditions include preparing food for ancestors, eating ddeokguk (rice cake soup) to mark turning a year older, and playing games with family.

5. Each Chinese New Year welcomes a new year represented by a different animal in the Chinese zodiac. Which of the following is NOT one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac?

Answer: D) Chinese zodiac signs are represented by 12 animals, which are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Chinese zodiac operates on a 12-year cycle, and anyone born between Lunar New Year in 2024 and the next Lunar New Year in 2025 will be a Dragon. The lion, although a popular symbol of Chinese New Year, is not one of the Chinese zodiac animals (but it is one of the eight Burmese/Myanmar zodiac animals!).

6. What does “hong bao” mean in Mandarin Chinese?

Answer: C) In Mandarin, “hong” means red, which is the luckiest color of the holiday, while “bao” means envelope or packet. Hong bao are the popular red envelopes that families and friends use to give each other money on Lunar New Year and for other important events such as weddings. Traditionally, older relatives give hong bao filled with money to the children in their families. The red envelopes are called “lai see” in Cantonese, and “li xi” in Vietnamese.

7. What is the Tibetan Lunar New Year called?

Answer: A) Losar is the Tibetan New Year, which is celebrated in Tibet as well as Bhutan, Nepal, and parts of India. Tết is Vietnamese New Year, Tsagaan Sar is Mongolian New Year, and Chunjie is “Spring Festival” in Mandarin Chinese. All of these versions of Lunar New Year are celebrated around the same time each year, but the dates can sometimes vary across cultures/countries based on differences between Tibetan, Vietnamese, Mongolian, and Chinese calendars.

8. Which U.S. state is the first — and only state, so far — to give all public school students a day off for Lunar New Year (when it falls on a weekday)?

Answer: A) New York State made Lunar New Year a state-wide school holiday. Governor Kathy Hochul said, “By designating Lunar New Year as an official school holiday, we are taking an important step in recognizing the importance of New York’s AAPI community and the rich diversity that makes New York so great. It is not just a day off from school — it is an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate their own or different cultures and traditions.” On the city level, San Francisco’s school district has given students the day off for Lunar New Year for decades.

9. The Lantern Festival, which happens during the full moon, is celebrated on which day of the 15-day-long Chinese New Year holiday?

Answer: D) Lantern Festival occurs on the 15th (last) day of the Lunar New Year/Spring Festival celebrations, on the first full moon of the new year. Homes are decorated with colorful lanterns, and people also celebrate by watching lion and dragon dances and fireworks, and by eating glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) with various fillings.

10. While red is the most important color in Chinese New Year traditions, the Mongolian New Year (Tsagaan Sar) is known as…

Answer: B) Tsagaan Sar translates to White Moon, and is the Mongolian version of Lunar New Year. The holiday dates back to the 1200s, when it used to be celebrated as the Dairy Festival — since dairy products are some of the most important foods in the region. Today, Mongolians observe the holiday and celebrate the end of a harsh winter by dressing up and gathering for family feasts featuring dumplings, dairy products, and cookies, and playing traditional games.

Bonus: Try this AAPI history trivia quiz too!

Joanna Eng is a staff writer and digital content specialist at ParentsTogether. She lives with her wife and two kids in New York, where she loves to hike, try new foods, and check out way too many books from the library.