Why do China, Vietnam and Tibet, which are partly Buddhist countries, celebrate the Lunar New Year? This seems inconsistent with spiritual practices. I'm a bit lost…
Doctor Dinh Hy Trinh: It is quite complicated indeed, and more related to geography than to religion.
What is usually called the "Lunar New Year" celebrated in East Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, Mongolia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines) is based on the traditional Chinese calendar , while the New Year celebrated in the countries of South and South-East Asia (India according to the States, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) is based on the Hindu calendar.
In addition, Buddhists also use the Buddhist calendar based on the date of Buddha's Parinibbana (2564 this year), and Tibetan Buddhists use the Vajrayana calendar based on the enthronement date of the 1st King of Tibet (2147 this year).