Chinese New Year, also known as CNY or the Spring Festival, is an occasion where families come together to celebrate.
The festival has been celebrated for over 3,000 years, and its popularity continues today in China and in many parts of the world.
This year, the celebration falls on February 10th. This means you have a few more days to get ready before the big day. And when we say getting ready, we mean welcoming the year with good luck!
Here, learn everything you need to know about the Chinese New Year. Discover interesting facts and the do’s and don’ts to be lucky in the Year of the Wood Dragon!
In this article
1. The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival
The Chinese New Year is celebrated to welcome the end of winter and mark fresh starts. It’s also known as Spring Festival. This holiday celebrates new beginnings that come with a season change. Also, it has been called Lunar New Year because this marks the start of the Lunar calendar.
2. The Chinese locals celebrate it to pray for good luck
The Chinese New Year is a time to reflect on the past year and pray for good fortune in your future. During this time, people go on extended vacations to recharge for the new year. They also take the time to show gratitude to their ancestors, offering them baskets of fruit or money so they bless people with good luck.
3. Setting firecrackers also wards off evil spirits
Setting off firecrackers or fireworks is an essential part of the Chinese New Year celebration. This activity is done to drive away evil spirits with loud noises. Warding off evil spirits is believed to get rid of bad luck.
4. It’s the longest holiday celebration in China
The dates for the Chinese New Year vary since it follows the Lunar calendar. The celebration typically lasts for 16 days, starting on New Year’s Eve up until the Lantern Festival. This year, celebrations start from February 10th and ends on February 24th. However, locals would prepare early before New Year’s Eve. They would be busy weeks prior to the big day doing some cleaning, shopping, and cooking.
5. Red decorations attract good fortune
Red is thought to represent the color of life in Feng Shui. That’s why many believe that decorating your home with red ornaments will bring good fortune in your life. They are also believed to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and misfortune.
6. It’s customary to wear red accessories
Aside from decorations, red accessories also invite the energy of luck into your life. Wearing red clothes, red shoes, and red jewelry can set the mood for the rest of the year. Red string bracelets are particularly auspicious as they are consciously made to attract good luck.
7. Adults give children red envelopes
A red envelope with money inside to be specific. This is to wish children good luck in the coming Lunar year. But this doesn’t only apply to adults and children. It’s also a tradition between friends, co-workers, and bosses and employees.
8. Each Lunar New Year is represented by a zodiac animal
In 2024, the prevailing zodiac sign is the Wood Dragon. It is important to note which animal represents the year as it will decide your luck throughout the year. For instance, those born under the Rabbit, Ox, and Tiger signs will generally enjoy a lucky year based on the Feng Shui 2024 Flying Star Chart. Those born under the Dragon sign will have to watch out for the bad luck the year brings.
9. And your zodiac year is thought to be a bad luck
The Chinese believe that the year of your Chinese zodiac is your unluckiest year, or Ben Ming Nian. This means if you’re born under the sign of the Dragon, and it becomes the ruling zodiac of the year, you’ll be generally unlucky. Locals believe that during your ruling year, you’ll be clashing with Tai Sui, which can bring you bad luck, misfortune, illnesses, and accidents.
So, those born under the Dragon will need to be more careful in the Year of the Wood Dragon. To counter the bad luck, you must wear red clothing throughout the year, especially on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
10. Cleaning during the Chinese New Year brings bad luck
If you’re planning to clean on the first day of the Chinese new year, don’t. This will bring bad luck according to the old traditions. Do your cleaning before midnight of the CNY or the next day to bring good luck.
11. Eating a big meal during the CNY brings good luck
In Chinese traditions, eating a big meal on the midnight before New Year helps bring daji dali or good luck and good fortune. Big meals mirror abundance that can set the year for prosperity.
12. Dumplings are especially auspicious for the New Year
Dumplings are considered a symbol of wealth and abundance in Chinese culture. This is because they resemble gold and ingots. If you wish to be extra prosperous, make sure to include dumplings in your table come CNY.
13. Dragons and lions dance on the street
Of course, they aren’t real dragons and lions. A team of experienced dancers use giant puppets resembling the auspicious creatures, performing on streets. They perform traditional dances to ward off evil and to welcome the year on an auspicious note.
14. CNY is celebrated across the globe
CNY isn’t only celebrated by Chinese families. It is also celebrated worldwide, particularly in neighboring Asian countries and the West. So, you’d find non-Chinese families observing the festival to invite good luck and get rid of misfortune.
15. You can greet a Happy Chinese New Year in various ways
If you have friends or colleagues that’s celebrating CNY, you can greet them in various ways. You can say “Gong hei fat choy” to greet them, which is Cantonese and the most common way to greet people. You can also greet them in Mandarin with “Gong xi fa cai.” Or if you want the more formal way, say “Xin nian kuai le.”
Chinese New Year Dos and Don’ts
Wear red clothing such as red bracelets to symbolize good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Give red envelopes with money to children and unmarried adults as a symbol of good fortune.
Clean your house before the New Year to sweep away bad luck and make room for good luck to enter.
Eat fish for prosperity and dumplings for wealth, as they are considered lucky foods during Chinese New Year.
Avoid sweeping or taking out the garbage on New Year's Day as it is believed to sweep away good fortune.
Refrain from using sharp objects like knives or scissors, as they are thought to cut away good luck.
Don't say negative words or talk about death, as it is considered inauspicious during the New Year celebrations.
Avoid wearing black or white clothing, as they are associated with mourning and are considered unlucky during Chinese New Year.
To recap, Chinese New Year is celebrated to bring good luck and protection.
If you want to see a prosperous year ahead, it's time you celebrate the special occasion this year.
And for all our companions celebrating the Spring Festival, Gong xi fa cai!
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a significant traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. It marks the beginning of the new year according to the lunar calendar and is a time for family reunions, feasting, and honoring ancestors.
When is Chinese New Year?
The date of Chinese New Year varies each year, as it is based on the lunar calendar. In 2024, Chinese New Year falls on February 10th.
What are some traditional customs and activities during Chinese New Year?
Some traditional customs and activities during Chinese New Year include giving red envelopes with money, setting off firecrackers, eating symbolic foods like dumplings and fish, and displaying decorations with auspicious meanings.
What are some popular gifts for Chinese New Year?
Popular gifts for Chinese New Year include traditional treats like tangerines and dried fruits, as well as symbolic items such as decorative lanterns and calligraphy scrolls. Red items are also considered lucky gifts.
How can I decorate my home for Chinese New Year?
You can decorate your home for Chinese New Year by hanging red lanterns, putting up red paper cutouts with auspicious phrases, displaying blooming flowers like orchids and peonies, and hanging up couplets with well wishes.