Some Facts About Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year

1. Chinese New Year is also called “Spring Festival”.

Though in winter, Chinese call their New Year holidays ‘Spring Festival’ (?? ch?nji√© /chwnn-jyeah/), because ‘Start of Spring’ (4¬†February) is the first of the terms in the traditional¬†solar calendar. While wintry weather prevails, ‘Start of Spring’ marks the end of the coldest part of winter when the Chinese traditionally could look forward to the beginning of spring.

2. It is a festival for 1/4 of the world’s population.

Over 2 billion people celebrate Chinese New Year in some way, even if it’s just a national acknowledgment. These countries have public holidays during Chinese New Year: China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, and Brunei. More and more Western cities celebrate this festival in recent years, like New York, London, Vancouver, and Sydney.

3. The Chinese New Year date changes each year.

The date for Chinese New Year changes each year. It always falls between January 21 and February 20 and is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2024, Chinese New Year will fall on Feb 10th. See more about Chinese New Year Dates.

4. Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year.

There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals. In order, the 12 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. 2024 is a year of the Dragon. Your zodiac animal is decided by your birth year.

5. The festival is celebrated for 16 days till the Lantern Festival.

Traditionally, the 16 days from¬†Chinese New Year’s Eve¬†until¬†the Lantern Festival each had a special celebration activity. On the evening of the 15th day of the first lunar month, on the night of the full moon, families gather for dinner and go out and see fireworks and light lanterns. Lanterns are put up for decoration, let loose to fly, and floated in rivers.

6. This period is a time to offer sacrifices to Gods and ancestors.

Praying is one of the more important activities during Chinese New Year. People pray to gods and ancestors. Many Chinese people visit ancestors’ graves on the day before the Chinese New Year’s day, and offer sacrifices to ancestors before the reunion dinner

7. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, people eat auspicious foods.

Certain foods are eaten during the Chinese New Year period purely for their symbolic meaning. This includes dumplings, eaten because they represent wealth. The more dumplings you can eat, the more money you will make in the new year. Fish is eaten because the word for fish in Chinese, (? Y√ļ /yoo/) sounds like ‘surplus’. Oranges and tangerines are displayed because they are believe to bring good luck and fortune due to their pronunciation and characters.

8. Red decorations are everywhere during the Chinese New Year.

You might know that red is a lucky color in China, representing many positive things such as happiness, beauty, vitality, good luck, success, and good fortune, but did you know that almost everything is red during Chinese New Year? Apart from the red envelopes, decorations, and spring couplets hung up outside people’s homes are red. You’ll also see lanterns everywhere, as well as red paper cuttings. See¬†the Top 7 Decorations during Chinese New Year.

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