HAPPY NEW YEAR 2024! New Year’s Buddhist practices for an auspicious, peaceful and happy year for all beings

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    Buddha Weekly Losar Tashi Delek working with logo horizontal Buddhism

    Happy New Year! Buddhists around the world celebrate 2024 at different New Year dates around the world — although the traditions of warm wishes of good fortune and celebration are common to all of them. Also common to all the traditions are some universal customs:

    • Celebrate with light to bring in an optimistic New Year. This can be fireworks, candles on altars, colorful lanterns and other festive lights!
    • Dharma activities, such as reading Sutra
    • Generosity to others — giving to set the tone for aupsiciousness
    • First “sight” of the New Year ideally should be a Buddha image (sometimes known as Darshan)
    • Wishing others a Happy New Year, good fortune, health and happiness.

    On that note —

    Happy New Year!

     

    Buddha Weekly Dragon New Year 2024 dreamstime xl 288781834 Buddhism
    2024 will be the year of the Wood Dragon, starting on February 10, 2024. Japanese and Western New Year is January 1, 2024.

     

    Different Dates on Different Calendars

    Why so many dates? Calendar New year is based on the western solar-based calendar. Chinese New Year is based on the lunisolar lunar calendar, while Tibetan New Year is based on the unadjusted lunar calendar. Other “New Year’s” celebrations mark different traditions. January 1 is common to most Buddhists around the world, but the more traditional dates are:

    • Calendar New Year: January 1 each year
    • Japanese New Year, Shogatsu, also January 1 each year
    • Mahayana New Year: January 25, 2024
    • Tibetan New Year LOSAR, Year of the WOOD DRAGON: February 10, 2024  — this is the year 2151 in the Tibetan Calendar
    • Chinese New Year, Year of the WOOD DRAGON: February 10, 2024
    • Theravadan New Year: April 24, 2024
    • For more information on the various types of lunar calendar and Dharma Dates, see our full 2024 feature>>

    Fireworks are a must on any New Year, bringing in the aupsiciousness of light. If you can’t go live, there will be plenty of coverage online.

    Buddha Weekly Hong Kong Fireworks dreamstime xl 66671733 Buddhism
    Fireworks are a must for New Years. Light is a tradition auspicious offering for all New Years celebrations, on both solar-based and lunar-based calendars. Fireworks in HongKong.

    Western New Year falls on January 1 each year, while Mahayana Buddhist New Year, Chinese New Year, Theravadan New Year and Tibetan New Year are all celebrated on different dates on the lunar calendar. Some of us celebrate them all — not just as an excuse for wishing our fellow sentient beings good fortune and auspiciousness, but also — well, who doesn’t like a celebration? It is also a time of dedicated Dharma practice, especially for the purification of past negativities. When are these various dates?

    Buddha Weekly New Year Dragon Dance dreamstime xl 82669591 Buddhism
    Dragon Dance.

    Dates of New Year 2024

    • Calendar New Year: January 1 each year
    • Japanese New Year, Shogatsu, also January 1 each year
    • Mahayana New Year: January 25, 2024
    • Tibetan New Year LOSAR: February 10, 2024
    • Chinese New Year: February 10, 2024
    • Theravadan New Year: April 24, 2024

     

    Buddha Weekly Children New Year Chinese dreamstime m 33449508 Buddhism
    Did we mention lucky packets? If we forgot, the kids are sure to remind you on Chinese New Year, this year Jan 22, 2023.

     

    Each of these New Year dates are full of symbolism and meaning. One popular New Year tradition is to set off fireworks, which represent the brightness and joy of the New Year. Another common New Year practice is to ring bells, which symbolize good fortune and hope for the New Year ahead. Additionally, many Buddhists will visit temples on New Year’s Day to pray for blessings and prosperity for the year ahead. In Tibetan tradition, prior to New Year (which falls on February 21 this year!) we engage in purification practices, such as Vajrasattva, to purify all obstacles and negativities as we go into a new year.

     

    Buddha Weekly Tibetan New Year 2017 Tibet Losar Festival Buddhism
    Offerings and purification are important prior to Losar, to ensure you don’t carry any negativity into the new year. Then, of course, after New Year, offerings are super important — the merit is multiplied.

     

    Common traditions for New Years in Buddhism

    Common to all (most) Buddhist traditions are:

    • Celebrate with light to bring in an optimistic New Year. This can be fireworks, candles on altars, colorful lanterns and other festive lights.
    • Dharma activities, such as reading Sutra
    • Generosity to others — giving to set the tone for aupsiciousness
    • First “sight” of the New Year ideally should be a Buddha image (sometimes known as Darshan)
    • Wishing others a Happy New Year, good fortune, health and happiness.

     

    Buddha Weekly New Year Celebrating the New Year in Thailand with fireworks at Wat Chai Watthanaram Buddhist temple Thailand Buddhism
    New Year Celebrating the New Year in Thailand with fireworks at Wat Chai Watthanaram Buddhist temple Thailand.

     

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with joy, love, and peace. Happy New Year!

    Appendix: Linosolar lunar versus lunar

    The months in a lunisolar calendar are based on the repeating phases of the Moon. To keep up with the solar year and season, however, some additional intercalation rules must be applied to balance out lunar cycles with those of sun-based calendars. As such, it is distinct from regular lunar calendars which lack this “adjustment.”

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    Lee Kane

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
    Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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