With the winter holiday season behind us and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, you might think that new year’s celebrations are over. Well, not quite yet! On February 12, 2021, the new moon marks the beginning of a holiday celebrated with a cornucopia of color, dance, light, family, and, of course, food: Lunar New Year! Often referred to in Western cultures as “Chinese New Year,” this holiday year ushers in the Year of the Ox. Lunar New Year isn’t constrained to just one day. On the contrary, the main part of the celebrations lasts 11 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival on the 26th of February.
Widely celebrated across the world, Lunar New Year has a rich symbolism and numerous ancient legends associated with it. But if you’re new to celebrating Chinese New Year, you likely have so many questions: What colors should you wear or use in a festive flyer? What are common Lunar New Year greetings for family and coworkers? What’s the meaning behind the red lanterns and animals associated with each year? Most importantly, how do you celebrate with your family? We’ve compiled all of the answers for you here!
Let’s dive into the many meanings of this beautiful holiday, learn traditional Lunar New Year greetings, and get inspired to design Chinese New Year greeting cards, flyers, backgrounds, and social media posts that are sure to bring a smile to the face of every recipient.
If you know a thing or two about ancient cultural holidays, you probably know that many were closely linked to natural occurrences like the changing of seasons. For example, many western societies follow a Gregorian or solar calendar that is based on a single rotation of the Earth around the Sun. However, there are also lunar calendars that are based on the phases of the moon.
Lunar New Year, which originated in China around 3,500 years ago, is usually celebrated on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, sometime between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. The exact date changes every year since it’s based on the lunar cycle.
Each Lunar New Year is named after one of 12 animals that, according to ancient legend, managed to take part in a race the Emperor organized. First came the rat, then the ox, followed by the tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and finally, the pig. According to Chinese astrology, if the year ends with 0 or 1, it’s the year of Metal, if with 2 or 3 it’s the year of Water, 4 or 5 indicates the year of Wood, 6 or 7 is the year of Fire, and 8 or 9 is the year of Earth. Each year also has associated lucky traits, numbers, colors, and even directions. Put this all together and you can see that Lunar New Year in 2021 is the celebration of the Metal Ox.
Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries, each with its own traditions. This includes China, Singapore, North and South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. It’s also celebrated in cities with a significant Chinese population, such as London, New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver.
While there are some differences in how Lunar New Year is celebrated across the world, the main ways to celebrate include lighting firecrackers, gifting small sums of money in red envelopes, and coming together for family dinner with traditional celebratory dishes. It also includes getting rid of clutter and cleaning the house before the New Year; watching street performances with acrobats, dragon and lion dancers; and lighting red lanterns that symbolize wealth, hope, and a bright future.
One of our favorite parts of celebrating a holiday is by sharing typical greetings with friends, family, and coworkers. Whether it’s written out on a greeting card, printed on a flyer, shared on social media, or said in person, it’s a fun way to share the joy of the season. Check out this list of traditional Lunar New Year greetings in Chinese and their English translations. Add 祝您 (“Zhu nín”), “Wish you,” for a more formal greeting.
Ready to celebrate? We love setting up lanterns and eating our fair share of nian gao, a cake commonly consumed during Chinese New Year. But we also love designing Lunar New Year greeting cards, flyers, social media posts, invitations, and backgrounds to welcome in the Year of the Ox. PicsArt has a whole range of tools, effects, backgrounds, stickers, and templates to get you to create beautiful Chinese New Year backgrounds, greeting cards, and more in no time. Ready to create your own? We’ve broken down some ideas below for the best Chinese New Year yet!
Wondering why the color red is typically used on a Chinese New Year greeting card? According to ancient legend, the color red, along with fire and noise, was used to defeat Nian, the voracious half-lion half-bull that used to terrorize villagers on New Year’s Day. Since then it’s become almost impossible to imagine a Chinese New Year greeting card without a golden-lettered script elegantly printed on a vibrant red background.
Want to design your own Chinese New Year greeting card in PicsArt? Here’s how to do it in the app:
Step 1) Open the PicsArt app and tap on the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the screen.
Step 2) Select from a variety of Lunar New Year backgrounds in the Editor or upload your own. Want to work off of a plain red background? Tap on Draw & Color, then tap on More in the Backgrounds section and select a shade of red using the color wheel.
Step 3) Scroll across the Editor toolbar on the bottom of your screen and tap on Sticker. Search for Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year in the search bar, and you’ll find a large collection of designs in red and gold: lanterns, dragons, firecrackers, etc. Tap on your favorites to add to your greeting card and then click Apply in the upper right corner.
Step 4) Scroll across the Editor toolbar and tap on Text. Write in one of the greetings we discussed in the previous section. Tap on the upper right checkmark, scroll right to pick a font and then tap on Color to make the text golden. Click Apply when you’re done.
Step 5) Save and share with all your friends! It’s that simple to create your own personalized Lunar New Year greetings. Share them on your social accounts, add them to your customer emails, print them out to mail, or upload to your family group chat.
If you’re designing a flyer, one cool approach is to make the background pale yellow and add a big round circle in red to signify the moon – it makes for an interesting reversal. To do that use the “Shape” section of the Editor toolbar in PicsArt’s web tools; it has a number of pre-made shapes that you can easily add to your creative work. Here’s how to create your own Chinese New Year flyers in PicsArt’s web tools:
Step 1) Open the PicsArt desktop Editor and choose a size for your flyer. Then upload one of your own photos or choose from our collection of Free to Edit photos. In this case, pick one with a pale yellow background.
Step 2) Click on Shapes in the Editor Toolbar and select a circle. Drag to reposition and resize your red moon.
Step 3) Click on the drop icon in the toolbar above the photo to open the color wheel and select the perfect shade of red.
Step 4) Click on Text in the Editor toolbar on the left to add in Lunar New Year greetings or any relevant information to add to your flyer. Play around with adding in festive Stickers or vibrant Effects here as well!
Step 5) Download and share your custom Chinese New Year flyer with your friends, neighbors, and/or customers!
Social Media Posts
Your fans will love a personalized social media post wishing them warm greetings in the lunar new year! And the best part is that PicsArt has easy to use social post templates perfectly sized for whatever platform you’re looking to post on. Use them to easily create everything from Instagram Stories to Facebook feed posts that show how you’re celebrating, what we can expect from this year given the characteristics of the ruling animal, and commemorate previous celebrations, etc.
When designing social media posts, it’s convenient to try PicsArt’s Online Photo Editor. Whether you’re designing an Insta story or a Facebook cover pic, it has just the right sizes to get you started. Plus, you can click Explore and check out all the Lunar New Year designs other PicsArtists have created to inspire your own posts.
Want to mix it up? Use a classic red shade for your Chinese New Year background or opt for a muted yellow with red as an accent. Alternatively, you use colors or images of the ruling animal of the year. For the ox, the lucky colors are white, silver, and aqua blue. It’s said that red agitates the ox too much, so if you choose a background of silver or blue, the year will be kinder to you and bring more prosperity. Luckily, with PicsArt, creating a nice silver-blue gradient takes only a few clicks!
However you choose to celebrate, we wish you good health and prosperity in the new year!
PicsArt all-in-one Photo and Video Editor, Collage, and Sticker Maker is the world’s largest creative platform with over 150 million monthly active creators and influencers. PicsArt has collaborated with major artists and brands like Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Lizzo, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, MONSTA X, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app today to level-up your photos and videos with thousands of quick & easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity with PicsArt and upgrade to Gold for awesome premium perks!