LEGO is back with new sets celebrating Chinese New Year in 2022, and I’m here to bring you an early review of 80108 Lunar New Year Celebrations,
The new LEGO Chinese New Year sets will be available globally on 1 January 2022, but the UK, Europe and Asia get them a little earlier on 26 December 2021, and they’re available on LEGO.com, your local LEGO or toy store.
This is LEGO’s 4th year releasing Chinese Traditional Festival sets, celebrating Chinese seasonal festivities, and traditions, coinciding with their efforts to stay relevant to the Chinese market, but also reflecting LEGO’s shift to being a more global, less Western Europe-centric brand.
I’m ethnically Chinese, so these sets have always been very close to my heart, and it was a very special moment from the first set, 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner to see a brand that I love not only acknowledge but celebrate parts of my cultural heritage with such reverence and accuracy.
Let’s get into the 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions review, a really unique and poignant set that’s unlike anything that LEGO have ever done in this sub-theme before.
Special thanks to The LEGO Group for sending this set for early reviews.
80108 Lunar New Year Traditions Set Details
Name: Lunar New Year Traditions
Set Number: 80108
Price: $79.99 [US] | £59.99 GBP [UK] | AU$109.99 [AUS]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Chinese New Year / Chinese Traditional Festival
Release Date: 1 January 2022
Designer: Justin Ramsden (@justinramsden)
Buy from LEGO.com [US] [UK] [AUS]
Chinese New Year is all about family, and LEGO have introduced something new this year, with the set being designed as a “Build Together” experience where you’re encouraged to build it with others.
To facilitate this, each module has their own instruction manual, with a gorgeous unique gold-coloured illustration on each manual, so you can build it with up to 6 other people.
These wordless comics have been used to communicate the storyline, or context behind some Chinese New Year sets, and this year, there is a lovely story being told of the 2 kids from the series receiving a LEGO set, and building it together with their grandparents.
I also really like that each instruction booklet has their own “character” to give you more suggestions on who should build the sets, perfect for those with large extended families.
Let’s get to the bad news first – stickers. The set contains many many cool decorations, so stickers have been used liberally to bring some of these details to life. Not a deal breaker, as these stickers are fairly easy to apply, but i would’ve liked more printed elements.
The concept of 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions is pretty novel, clearly being inspired by LEGO Minifigure Habitats – little self-contained 8 x 8 x 8 stud modules used to house LEGO minifigures.
There are 6 different Chinese New Year habitats, or modules, each telling a different story about important Chinese New Year traditions – a great way to condense most of the major New Year traditions in a fun, minifigure-centric way.
Each module is attached to the core, and can be easily detached to display on its own.
The set design and layout itself is a nod to a Chinese New Year staple – a Tray of Togetherness (or Chinese Candy Box) – a (usually) ornate lacquered container that usually contains 6 or 8 trays that can be separated, or combined filled with sweets, and snacks meant for visiting guests.
The significance of 6 trays (or minifigure habitats) is also intentional as 6 is an auspicious number in Chinese, which symbolises luck, and the contents vary from family to family, but typically include red watermelon seeds, candied lotus root, candied winter melon, and sweets like White Rabbit Candy.
It’s not something that’s immediately apparent with the design, unless you grew up seeing these every Chinese New Year, and I thought was a really great nod by designer Justin Ramsden to a Chinese New Year staple.
There’s also a printed dish piece with the Mandarin words that loosely translate to Welcoming Chinese New Year and Family Reunion, along with illustrated tigers in a traditional Chinese art-style – fitting as 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.
On the inside are these six printed 2 x 3 tiles, with the lovely gold illustrations that we first saw on the manuals, and are a very luxe, and premium touch to the insides – essentially dressing the “hub” up so it doesn’t look drab.
A whopping twelve minifigures are included in the set: – the God of Wealth, a stallholder, a couple, man, girl, and a family of 6: dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, a girl and boy.
Some of these minifigures may seem very familiar if you’ve collected all the LEGO Chinese New Year sets, and we’ll connect the dots in the individual module sections.
The first minifigure habitat we’ll look at is Spring Cleaning, which sees a couple dressed in matching orange outfits, cleaning a balcony in what is likely their apartment building.
There are Mandarin characters on each module, which describe the scene, and this one has 除陳布新, which loosely translates to “out with the old, and in with the new”
It’s customary to clean your home before the first day of Lunar New Year, and this couple is hard at work cleaning the outside of their apartment, while a white bird observes.
There are fun little details, such as pants hanging to dry, an air-conditioner unit, and even a white crate that has the words 海鲜, which translate to seafood being used as a planter box. It’s safe to assume that one of them works in a seafood restaurant!
Another great nod that Monkie Kid fans are going to adore is a peek into their living room, which has some soap bubbles that the girl is trying to clean with her spray bottle and pink sponge, which features a model of 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech which was also designed by the set designer Justin Ramsden.
Oh and in case you’re wondering what the guy is holding – it’s a rainbow feather duster – a very common household item!
Here’s a look at the couple, and their matching orange outfits. If you think they look familiar…
They’re the exact same couple from 80107 Spring Lantern Festival, who also had matching outfits!
Here’s a look at the back of their torsos, which has that stylised Chinese Tiger motif printed on them.
The next module is all about the Chinese New Year tradition of food shopping, with a stallholder and his wares.
The Mandarin words 置辦年貸 loosely translate to Chinese New Year shopping!
It’s one of the most basic minifigure habitats in the set, but has some neat details such as some Lap Cheong (aka Chinese Sausages) hanging out the front, and a sprue of toys on sticks, and some other paraphernalia.
More Monkie Kid references abound, with this poster on the side – which have the words for Chinese Rice Dough Figures, a traditional folk art with all sorts of characters created with dough and colouring.
The stall has many similarities to the one from 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair!
Making good-luck decorations
The next habitat is all about the tradition of making good luck decorations! For Chinese New Year, it’s typical to hang up and display all sorts of paper decorations, containing sayings and phrases to usher in a prosperous New Year.
Kinda like Live, Laugh, Love, but instead it’s all about wishing for good luck and getting rich.
The text at the base 開門迎福 loosely translates to “opening the door to welcome blessings in”
The most important and recognisable paper decoration is the Fu character (prosperity), which is traditionally hung upside down – the Chinese language is renowned for wordplace, and the word upside down and arrive sound the same, so it’s a play on words to say “prosperity arrives”.
On the door is some Chinese poetry that I wasn’t able to translate, so if you know what this means, please let me know in the comments!
Update: Thanks to Lovebebeto for the following translation: The poetry on the door you mentioned in the review is actually a couplet. The left roll of the couplet is loosely translated to “Jade tiger welcomes spring (the new year) with hundreds of industries flourishing”, the right roll of the couplet is loosely translated to “Gold ox sees the old year out with grain full in thousands of barns”. The horizontal scroll of the couplet just says “Good luck in the year of the tiger”
The man can be seen drawing up some calligraphy, complete with a calligraphy brush and ink pot, and the girl is busy cutting squares of paper.
Another cute Easter Egg hidden here is some packages, with a sticker indicating it’s from Billund! BLL is the code for Billund Airport!
Another staple of Chinese New Year is the mandarin tree, where red packets are hung. Mandarins are a significant feature during Chinese New Year as the Chinese word for Mandarin is “kam”, which is a homonym for “gold” in Chinese, and mandarins are consumed and handed out as a gesture of handing out “gold” to one another.
Here’s a look at the man and his daughter, the latter of which has a brand new torso, which has a quilted and floral pattern on the front and pack.
The man in the blue jacket has made an appearance before in the 80105 Chinese New Year Temple Fair set!
Staying up to ring in the New Year
The next minifigure habitat sees a family of 3 in their living room, staying up till midnight to usher in the Lunar New Year!
The Chinese words at the bottom, 除夕守岁 loosely translates to staying up late on New Year’s Eve, a tradition that is believed to give your parents’ long life.
In this module, both parents are up watching TV on New Year’s Eve – to help pass the time, TV channels will usually play variety TV shows, featuring game shows and celebrities to entertain people until the stroke of midnight!
Another great nod to pass sets is this portrait from 80107 Spring Lantern Festival, where you’ll remember the dad with his camera taking photos at the Lantern Festival.
You can also see that they’re one minute away from midnight, and an aquarium in the background.
But it looks like dad has fallen asleep! Oh no!
Here’s a look at the minifigures, including their alternate face which has the dad fallen asleep with his glasses sliding off his nose!
Visiting Grandparents and Red Envelopes
The 5th module is a perhaps one of THE most important Chinese New Year traditions – visiting your grandparents for Chinese New Year.
The text 新春拜年 loosely translates to Spring Greetings.
Think of this as a continuation of 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, where on the first day of Chinese New Year, it’s customary to dress up in red, and congregate at the paternal grandparent’s home, to wish them Happy New Year, and in return, kids and unmarried individuals will usually receive red envelopes or hong bao, filled with money as an auspicious symbol.
Both grandparents are pictured here seated, as the young son approaches them to wish them Happy New Year, and pocket some red envelopes, but I also like the LEGO gift that the grandparents have bought for him in the corner.
I absolutely adore this traditional painting of the Tiger, done in calligraphy style that is hung on the walls.
It’s great to see the grandparents from 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner make a return, and I love their new minifigure torso designs, especially the grandmother’s which has great details such as a pearl necklace and brooch.
The God of Prosperity
Last but certainly not least is a module dedicated to Caishen, or Choy San, aka the God of Prosperity!
The text 招财进宝 loosely translates to bring in wealth and treasure.
This, I believe is LEGO’s first time officially depicting a deity as a minifigure, and quite a surprising one at that! As you can already tell, Chinese New Year is all about prosperity, and wishing wealth to increase, and the God of Prosperity is a staple around this time of the year, as prayers are petitioned to him to bless families with wealth and prosperity.
He is surrounded by gold, with gold bars, goblets, and also a brand new hot dog bun in pearl gold meant to represent Chinese Gold Ingots.
Here’s a better look at the God of Prosperity minifigure which is excellent, and even features his iconic moustache, beard and ornate headgear, with a new printed Chinese coin. Of course, he’s clutching a gold ingot and red envelope.
Very cool to see LEGO actually depicting a deity in minifigure form, and this is no doubt going to be a really popular minifigure amongst Chinese fans given his powers of wealth creation.
And that’s it for 80108 Lunar New Year Celebrations! You can display it in a myriad of ways, either in the traditional setup.
Or you can even stack these minifigure habitats which allows you to view all of them easily!
What I liked:
- A great compact way to showcase major Chinese New Year Traditions
- Minifigure Habitats being officially adapted by LEGO
- Build Together experience is fun, and allows families to connect over LEGO
- Lots of cool throwbacks
- God of Prosperity is brilliant
What I didn’t like:
- Lots of stickers
- The Shopping Module is a little boring
I really appreciate LEGO putting this set together, tying in so many much-loved traditions from Chinese New Year into a fun minifigure habitat format. It’s a compact way to weave in many different traditions and practices, in a unique and innovative new format.
The Build Together concept is perfectly executed here, and I can see this being a really popular activity for those celebrating Chinese New Year, and for this to be a relatively affordable gift when returning home for Chinese New Year, or to children helping them understand more about the customs and traditions, in a fun and engaging way.
There’s so much to like here, and I really appreciated all the fun Easter Eggs and references thrown in, and as a minifigure-heavy set, you’re not going to find many novel build techniques, which is totally okay.
This was a blast to put together and build, and will be one of those Chinese New Year sets that will be so easy to display and play with, and I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone, but especially families who want to learn more about Chinese New Year Traditions.
It’s so wonderful seeing a huge part of my culture and heritage captured in LEGO form, and I also think the price is quite worth it for all the value you get, minifigures and all.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – The build was very fun, with lots of variety throughout
Real Value  – Lots of minifigures, unique printed elements
Innovation  – A big yes for LEGO finally adopting Minifigure Habitats
Coolness  – LEGO have just introduced a deity as a minifigure. And the entire design is thoughtful and poignant.
Keepability  – One of the more memorable Chinese New Year sets, mostly because of the format.
80108 Lunar New Year Traditions will be available globally on 1 January 2022, but the UK, Europe and Asia get them a little earlier on 26 December 2021, and they’re available on LEGO.com, your local LEGO or toy store.
Thanks so much for reading! I’ll be sharing my next review of 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival soon, so keep an eye out for it!
I’d love to know what you think of Lunar New Year Traditions! Would you like to see more Minifigure Habitat sets?
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