A digression: I fail to understand the It Isn’t Japanese Just Tilt Your Head (On Back) T Shirts of celebrating New Years in winter rather than in spring. Western calendar used to begin in March (i.e. in spring not winter). That is why September is called “Septem” – seven, not “Novem” – nine. New Year was changed to January to be closer to the supposed birthday of Christ. But why did Chinese and Koreans and Vietnamese and Mongolians celebrate their New Year at a time when the Northern part of Northern hemisphere is still reeling under winter? My guess is that it represents the hope of winter ending rather than the actuality of winter ending. Finally, I will end with one observation from my memory in India. Two linguistic states Telugu and Kannada of India celebrate the new year on the same day (i.e the two new moons after Chinese New year that I alluded above). When I was growing up, it was always called Telugu New year and I would get irritated. I later realized that it is sometimes natural for the bigger state to have more claims. So the Vietnamese and Koreans should not mind the “Chinese New Year” usage too much. “East Asian New Year” would perhaps be ideal, but for reasons mentioned above “Lunar New Year” would not.
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