2014 Spring Festival falls on January 31. The holiday in China starts from January 31 to February 6, 2014. It is the Year of the Horse according to Chinese zodiac. Welcome to China and explore the traditional folk customs of this grand feast! 2014 New Year Video of TravelChinaGuide
|Writing Festival Couplets|
It comes on the first day of Chinese lunar calendar and lasts for almost half of a month. But in folk custom, this traditional holiday lasts from the 23rd day of the twelfth month to the 15th day of the first month (Lantern Festival) in the lunar calendar. Among these days, the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the New Year is the peak time. The exact days are different in every year according to the lunar calendar. Schedule of Spring Festival in recent years is offered in the following table.
|2012||January 23||January 22 - 28||Dragon|
|2013||February 10||February 9 - 15||Snake|
|2014||January 31||January 31 - February 6||Horse|
|2015||February 19||February 19 - 25||Sheep|
|2016||February 8||February 8 - 14||Monkey|
|2017||January 28||January 28 - February 3||Rooster|
|Couplets and Decorations|
It is said that the custom of Spring Festival started in when people offered sacrifice to ancestors in the last month of Chinese lunar calendar. At that time, people prepared the sacrifice by doing thorough cleaning, having bathes and so on. Later, people began to worship different deities as well on that day. It is the time that almost all the farm works were done and people have free time. The sacrificing time changed according to the farming schedule and was not fixed until the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD). The customs of worshipping deities and ancestors remains even though the ceremonies are not as grand as before. It is also the time that spring is coming, so people held all kinds of ceremonies to welcome it.
There are many legends about Spring Festival in Chinese culture. In folk culture, it is also called “guonian” (meaning “passing a year”). It is said that the “nian” (year) was a strong monster which was fierce and cruel and ate one kind of animal including human being a day. Human beings were scared about it and had to hide on the evening when the “nian” came out. Later, people found that “nian” was very scared about the red color and fireworks. So after that, people use red color and fireworks or firecrackers to drive away “nian”. As a result, the custom of using red color and setting off fireworks remains.
Preparing the New Year starts 7 days before the New Year’s Eve. According to Chinese lunar calendar, people start to clean the house on Dec. 24, butcher on Dec. 26th and so on. People have certain things to do on each day. These activities will end Jan. 15th of the lunar calendar.
Customs and Practices
|Paper Cut of Character 'Fu' Meaning |
Happiness and 'Feng' Meaning Harvest
The Spring Festival is a start for a new year, so it is regarded as the omen of a year. People have many taboos during this period. Many bad words related to “death”, “broken”, “killing”, “ghost” and “illness” or “sickness” are forbidden during conversations. In some places, there are more specific details. They consider it unlucky if the barrel of rice is empty, because they think they will have nothing to eat in the next year. Taking medicine is forbidden on this day, otherwise, people will have sick for the whole year and take medicine constantly.
|Dumplings, Traditional Food of Spring Festival |
Learn to Make Dumplings
Best Places to Go
In China, different places have their own traditions and activities to celebrate the Spring Festival. Beijing, Guangzhou, Xian and Pingyao are some good places to go if one intends to come during the time period. If one does not want to travel so long, but still want to enjoy the atmosphere of Chinese New Year, the local Chinatown is the best place.
New Year Greetings in Chinese
- New Year Wishes
- Happy New Year!
- Welcome to China!
2014 / 2015 / 2016 Public Holiday Calendar is available for you to know the schedule of all holidays in China and better make your travel plan.
Spring Festival Travel Rush happens over one month around the festival when China faces an extremely high traffic load, especially on the railway services.
Chinese Zodiac: Every lunar year in China is related to an animal sign according to the zodiac system - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.