Although many parts of the world mark January 1 as the first day of the new year (by the modern Gregorian calendar), a number of Asian nations use a different, lunisolar calendar. In 2023, January 22 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year (also called Chinese New Year, even though it’s celebrated in Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam, too).
In China, the start of the new year marks the beginning of a 15-day celebration. Virtually everyone in the nation travels home to spend the period with their families at the same time. Traffic is horrible, so bad it’s earned its own phrase, 春运.
Traditionally, older family members gift their children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren with red envelopes stuffed with cash or gold and silver coins. Chinese children look forward to the Lunar New Year with great anticipation, because, for a few days at least, they all become wealthy. In fact, these gifts are often called “lucky money,” even though it’s the traditional red envelope, not what’s inside, that’s considered lucky.
The Chinese New Year also welcomes a new animal from the Chinese zodiac (a repeating 12-year cycle where each year is represented by an animal and its attributes). The new year 2023 ushers in the Year of the Rabbit. Preceding the rabbit, 2022 was the Year of the Tiger (and we still have a handful of Year of the Tiger coins in stock).
Buying “something gold” is a long-standing Lunar New Year tradition in China.
Gold has been considered a sign of good luck or fortune for millennia in traditional Chinese culture. Gold is considered a significant contribution toward good fortune as hundreds of millions of families look forward to what the new year will bring. Interestingly, gold and its unmistakable color represented the authority and supremacy of emperors throughout China’s history (at least up until 1912, when the last emperor of China abdicated his throne).
Even so, China’s citizens still consider gold symbolic of that same level of sumptuousness and luxury that surrounded the emperors – as well as an omen of prosperity for the year ahead.
Because of the calendar differences, China’s workers receive their year-end bonuses just before the Lunar New Year. Therefore, Chinese consumers’ purchasing power is usually the highest just before Lunar New Year.
Just to show you how firm a place gold and silver have in Lunar New Year traditions, Chinese families enjoy dumplings during their holiday. Eating dumplings is believed to bring prosperity in the year ahead – because their shaped like gold and silver ingots, an ancient form of currency in China.
Every year, world mints (especially those whose home nations have a significant Chinese population) produce a number of gold and silver coins to honor the Chinese New Year.
Perth Mint’s Lunar New Year coins are probably the most well-known – they’ve been producing annual Chinese zodiac coins to celebrate the new year for over two decades.
BullionMax stocks a variety of gold and silver Lunar New Year coins. You’ll find something for every budget. And just imagine the smile on your loved one’s face when they open their lucky envelope and see real precious metal gleaming inside…