In summary

  • Swinburne students share their plans for Lunar New Year in Melbourne, separated from their families.
  • Lunar New Year falls on 12 February this year.
  • 2021 is the Year of the Ox.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by more than 1.5 billion people around the world. Usually, those celebrating would be flying, driving and even boating to be with their families, and cities around the world would host festivities.

In 2021 celebrations may look a little different, but families will still draw on traditions of sharing food and giving thanks.

The date for Lunar New Year is dictated by the moon, so it’s not a set date in the calendar. In 2021 it falls on 12 February, which is the eve of the new moon. Celebrations can go for 15 days until the evening of the full moon, although many people celebrate only the first seven days.

Depending on where in the world you are, you may see lion dancing, dragon parades, lanterns and plenty of delicious food.

Infographic showing some of the charactistics and lucky things associated with people born in the Year of the Ox.

Year of the Ox

Each lunar year is linked to a zodiac animal, which connotes the characteristics for people born in that year.

Civil engineering student Mike Yiming Chen explains, “The ox means hardworking, as ox can help the farmers work on the land.”

People born in the Year of the Ox are strong, reliable, fair and conscientious, inspiring confidence in others. They are also calm, patient, methodical and can be trusted. Although they say little, they can be very opinionated. They believe strongly in themselves, but are also stubborn and hate to fail or be challenged.

Swinburne student Will Subrata and his family the day before Lunar New Year. They ate traditional chinese food and saw a lion dance.

How business/marketing student, Will, is celebrating this year

While Lunar New Year is synonymous with the Chinese New Year, it’s also celebrated in Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and – as Swinburne business/marketing student William (Will) Subrata can attest – Indonesia. 

Usually, Will would fly back to Indonesia to be with his big family, including his grandparents and their brothers and sisters. They’d mark the occasion with a pre-Lunar New Year dinner and opening of the traditional red envelopes. Coming together with family is his favourite part of the festivities. This year, he’ll be with them virtually. 

“Lunar New Year means a lot to me,” he says. “It is when we celebrate, hoping for a better year. It is very important for us to have new spirit in our life and makes us more grateful than before.”

But Will is looking on the bright side. “I’m looking forward to celebrating with my fellow Indonesian friends who are still in Melbourne.”

He recommends those who haven’t been part of Lunar New Year before, celebrate it over brunch in Melbourne’s Chinatown. “You should eat dumplings, noodles and pork,” he suggests.

Civil engineering student, Mike, remembers celebrations back home

Mike Yiming Chen normally celebrates Lunar New Year with loved ones and sweet rice balls called ‘Tang Yuan’. As a child, he remembers going into the city – Shanghai – to see lantern light shows, eat traditional food and buy souvenirs. But his favourite part is seeing the dragon parade.

In 2021, Mike says, “I’m looking forward to it as a holiday together with Spring Festival to celebrate with family; I only wish it could be longer than just the first seven days.” 

For people who haven’t celebrated Lunar New Year before, Mike suggests, “Try to have the traditional food or watch the dragon show in their local area.”

Diversity at Swinburne

We wish all our students acknowledging the Lunar New Year a safe and happy celebration.

At Swinburne, we cultivate and respect the strength that cultural diversity creates. Swinburne was the first university in Australia to launch a Charter of Cultural Diversity, which reaffirms our acknowledgement and respect for the many cultures that make up the Swinburne community. Learn more about cultural diversity at Swinburne here.

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