Asia is a cultural continent that’s filled with traditions, and they welcome the new year in various ways! There are surprising traditions from these regions that you might have never heard before. 

Here are some of the Asian New Year traditions that may seem surprising to you:

1. Fukubukuro – Japan

Japan has an annual tradition called Fukubukuro. It is a time where they sell lucky bags with huge discounts up to 50% as the shop owners place different types of items within the container. Some even put more than the price that they sell.

red poster with japanese text

2. Seollal Travel – Korea

Korea has a unique tradition every Christmas as they value this season to celebrate it with their friends and family while other Koreans go on a date with their loved ones on Seollal. It is like a Chuseok, and during this time, most of the Koreans travel to their homes no matter how far.

houses in korea

3. Cattle Celebration – India

At the end of August and the beginning of September, they transport the cattle into a valley. The cattle are then elaborately decorated to be accompanied and returned home by lively traditional festivities. 

a man and a cattle with decorations

4. Water Festival – Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar

Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos are celebrating Water Festivals every April. They have a unique festival that people splash water amongst each other to express their wishes for a happier, healthier, and luck within the New Year. 

men throwing water

5. Castle Cleaning – Japan

They have a ritual that right before New Year, they clean communities and their house. It is to purify the areas, and it drives away the evil omen that hides within the location.

a man cleaning a castle

6. Avoid Buying Books or Shoes – China

Within a region of China where they speak Cantonese, they find it unlucky to buy shoes or books during this period. The reason behind it is the word shoes and book in Cantonese sound similar to the word lost.

pile of books and black shoes on top

7. Bali Day of Silence – Indonesia

In Bali, there is a day where they celebrate the day of silence, which is officially called Nyepi. Every year, Hindus commemorate silence during the coming new year. It requires them to go fasting and meditate for hours as they offer their prayer for a prosperous new year.

a group of people holding a statue

8. Mochitsuki – Japan

Since 1996, the Japanese have celebrated Mochitsuki, a celebration of food. It is a celebration to embrace the culture of the American-Japanese like culture for years. Mochitsuki also has activities for all ages.

a child and an old man holding a wooden laddle

9. Lantern Festival – China

The Chinese lantern festival an annual event held just before the Lunar New year. Their cities host a Lantern festival that is to be held during the evening as people make their very own handcrafted lanterns and let them fly to the sky, and after this, the New Year celebration begins. 

a lady looking up at a lantern

10. Dish of 6 Tastes – India

India has a unique tradition during New Year, such as preparing six meals with different flavors; these flavors must be of sweetness, salty, bitter, a pungent dish, and spicy. These six tastes symbolize the six aspects or emotions of life.

different spices

What Asian New Year tradition are you curious to try?

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