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Learn about Scents and Lunar New Year

Bright and colorful fireworks illuminate the night sky, red and golden lanterns lined up across the busy streets where hundreds of families from all over the world gather to regale themselves with scrumptious meals made with love, dance to the tune of fancy, lively music, and breathe in the captivating scent of its festivities as they wish for a harmonious and prosperous year. Indeed, Lunar New Year is a celebration highly-anticipated by almost everyone.

Normally a 2-week festivity, the Lunar New Year is the biggest and most important holiday for all Chinese communities worldwide, for it is a time when most workers can rest and welcome the new year with their loved ones.[1]

This tradition actually dates back to centuries ago.[1] China is one of the biggest agricultural countries and therefore has a long history of agrarian tradition.[2] As farming was their bread and butter, their ancestors needed a way to keep track of all the tasks essential to it, such as seed sowing, crop cultivation, and harvesting. Missing seasons would cause adverse effects on their crops. Hence, the birth of the Chinese lunar calendar.[1]

It follows the cycle of the moon, where they begin the celebration on the first new moon phase and ends on the first night the full moon appears, which typically takes place 15 days later. This is why the dates of the holidays may vary each year.[3]

In 1912, when the Republic of China was founded, the Gregorian calendar was formally adopted by the government, thus recognizing January 1st as the start of the year. From then on, Lunar New Year has been called the ‘Spring Festival’ for it represented beginnings—of mornings, days, seasons, and life.[1]

This old calendar, however, is still used as an observation of tradition and has been celebrated across the globe where there is a significant number of Chinese settlers. For example, in Vietnam, it is called the ‘First Day First Morning Festival’ where people clean their houses and decorate them with flowers as a way of starting the year fresh. Meanwhile, North and South Koreans spend this holiday, or ‘Seollal’, honoring their ancestors through food. They are known to make rice cake soup to be shared by the family.[4]

Through generations, its celebration has evolved. But there are things that remain connected to it, just like the various scents that make people think of Lunar New Year. “Each social culture itself has a big effect on how people perceive and experience different scents, especially in connection with a high-emotional context, where emotions play a prominent role.” Bertil Hultén, author of the book, Sensory Marketing: Theoretical and Empirical Grounds, explained.[5]

In relation to this, here are some of the many scents associated with the Lunar New Year:


The moment we recognize these scents, the first things we think of are firecrackers and fireworks, which are essential parts of the Lunar New Year tradition. Firecrackers were originally thought to scare away evil spirits and avoid bad luck. Now, they are seen as a festive way to brighten the atmosphere as people welcome the new year.[6]


The sweet aroma of flowers, narcissus, in particular, can be found in all homes during this festival. This beautiful white and yellow flower is said to represent silver and gold, which are, in turn, symbols of wealth and prosperity. It also usually blooms around January, so it is considered the symbolic flower of the Lunar New Year.[7] Imagine starting the year with a calm and fresh outlook with the help of these flowers.


Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges have always had a special place in the tradition of Lunar New Year. Appearance-wise, they are round and bright, so they are believed to bring wealth and good luck to the table, thereby putting these as decorations in the dining area.[8] Meanwhile, its clean and fruity scent can lift your spirits up as you open a new chapter of your life happy and revitalized.[9]

The year has just begun. There are so many things to do; so many things to achieve. Still, we have a lot to be grateful for and celebrate. We all wish for happiness and success for the coming year, so chin up and face the challenges ahead with a confident and relaxed mind.

Let our scents here at Essence et Sérénité give you the boost you need with the start of this new Lunar year.

No information provided in this article is to treat, cure or prevent any kinds of illnesses.

Please read our full DISCLAIMER.


Posted February 9, 2022, in ESSENTIAL OILS by Essence et Sérénité

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