If you’ve read my review of 2020’s Temple Fair set, you know I absolutely adore these special edition, festival sets from LEGO. They are steeped with tradition, brimming with color and serve as wonderful, detailed builds celebrating some of the most important Asian holidays.
For 2022, LEGO has put together a pair of joyful, new Spring Festival sets. In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the first of the two, Lunar New Year Traditions (80108).
Made up of 1,066 bricks, Lunar New Year Traditions creates six vingettes detailing different traditions observed during the lunar new year.
Each vignette has its own instruction book (numbered 1–6), so you can build them in any order you prefer, or simultaneously if you “build together” as the instruction book recommends.
I asked my mother-in-law to help me with translations and the meaning behind each of the traditions represented. We had hoped to have this conversation in person, but unfortunately COVID required we did this over the phone, so apologies if I misheard or got things wrong.
除舊佈新 – “Remove the old for the new”
We had a little trouble with the literal translaiton for this first scene. What is depicted is the tradition of cleaning the house prior to the new year, and removing any items that are old and unused. This is done with the intent of preparing the house for anything new that comes with the new year. Consider it an “out with the old, in with the new” sentiment.
This scene showcases two minifigures cleaning what is possibly the outside of a home with laundry hanging and a little feathered friend stopping by for a visit.
置辦年貨 – “Purchase New Year’s goods”
After a home has been thoroughly cleaned, the next tradition is the buying of goods for the new year. This includes foods, candies and decorations. It’s illustrated in the second vignette with a minifigure shopping for their new year’s goods at a local stall.
開門迎福 – “Open the door to welcome blessings”
While food is being prepared and decorations are being hung, the next lunar new year tradition is referred to as “Opening the door to welcome blessings.” It is customary to display the Chinese character “Fu” (福) on doors and windows in the home. “Fu” means “good fortune” which is the sentiment for a happy life and a happy new year.
LEGO included a wonderful detail in this vignette, with the “Fu” symbol on the door being placed upside down. This is done on purpose so the house fills with luck and prosperity in the new year.
除夕守歲 – “New Year’s Eve”
In ancient times, on New Year’s Eve, the commandment was that everyone was to stay awake until sunrise on New Year’s Day. While this is no longer a mandatory tradition, it is still partially observed as adults play Mahjong throughout the evening, and use fireworks as a way to keep young ones awake.
The reasoning for these late nights was that it was believed the longer you can stay awake, the longer your parents will live. You can see hints of this in the vignette above with the time on the clock reading 23:59, and a photo of the family with fireworks in the background.
新年拜年 – “New Year’s greetings”
After a late night on New Year’s Eve, on New Year’s Day it is customary to wish everyone a happy new year, with the traditional greetings of 恭喜發財 (Wish you prosperity and wealth), and 新年快乐 (Happy New Year!).
Red envelopes containing money, known as 红包 (Hongbao) are given as gifts as a way to share good wishes among family and friends. They are typically decorated with ornate symbols and Chinese calligraphy referencing the new year.
喜迎財神 – “Welcome the God of Wealth”
All of the traditions detailed so far in these vignettes are steps taken by families as a way of welcoming the God of Wealth into their home. As you can guess, the God of Wealth is responsible for bestowing good fortune, which is why so much effort is spent to make him welcome during the new year.
Like previous year’s Lunar New Year sets, LEGO has once again knocked it out of the park with an extremely fun and versatile set for toy photographers.
The individual vignettes themselves may be small, but they are absolutely packed with detail. The 12 included minifigures make up an extended family along with some additional friends and, of course, the God of Wealth himself. So many figures and scenes—there is a tremendous amount of mileage to be found in the Lunar New Year Traditions set.
The vignettes are modular, and can be displayed in a circle, or stacked in a pyramid opening plenty of new opportunities to create numerous scenes.
One last note, I love the “Build Together” illustration in the instruction books for this set. I wish I could say this is exactly how it went with my family, but attention spans are varied when it comes to a 5-year-old and 9-year-old.
While we may not have have built this set 100% as a family, we all enjoyed learning the meaning behind each of the traditions represented directly from 外婆 (Grandma). It was a great bonding experience for my family as we eagerly await to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Lunar New Year Traditions (80108) will be avilable from LEGO on January 10, 2022 for a MSRP of $79.99.
This set was provided by LEGO for this review.