10 Facts You Should Know about Chinese New Year

Top 10 Facts about Chinese New Year

2019 Chinese New Year Date


The festival date changes every year.

This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. Usually, it falls on a day between mid-January and mid-February. In 2019, Chinese New Year falls on February 5.
 See more about Chinese New Year 2019: Dates & Calendar


It is also called Spring Festival.

The festival usually falls after the solar term, Beginning of Spring (Li Chun), and is a festival in the spring, hence the name.


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

In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2019 is the Year of the Pig.
 Read more about Chinese Zodiac
Chinese Zodiac Signs


The celebration lasts for 15 days till Lantern Festival.

The peak time of the entire celebration is on Chinese New Year's Eve and the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day is called Lantern Festival, marking the end of the celebration.


One sixth of the world’s people celebrate it.

It is not only celebrated in Mainland China, but also observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world.

In recent years, the celebrations in New York, London, Vancouver, Sydney and other overseas cities have spread out of Chinatowns. Chinese New Year has become one of the world’s most celebrated festivals.
 See more about Celebrations around the World


It is the longest public holiday and the whole country is on the move.

Most employees have 7-12 days off the work, and students have one month winter vacation. The 2019 Chinese New Year holiday is from February 4th to 10th.

No matter where they are, people try their best to return home for a family reunion, like westerners attempting to spend Christmas with their families. Meanwhile, some families travel together during the holiday. This makes the world’s largest annual migration, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush. The total trips made by plane, train, bus and ship can reach nearly 3 billion.
Xi'an Railway Station during Spring Festival Travel Rush
Travel Rush during the Festival
Reunion Dinner
Famiget together for the reunion dinner.

Reunion dinner is a ritual.

The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve is a big feast to commemorate the past year. This is the most important time to be with families.

After the reunion dinner, families sit together to watch the CCTV New Year's Gala while chatting. As the most watched TV program, the gala collects various well-selected performances, targeting audiences of different generations.


Then comes the annual largest usage of fireworks on the planet.

Fireworks are an indispensable part of the celebration to liven up the air of Spring Festival. All families set off fireworks to celebrate the festival. The biggest firework show is on Lunar New Year's Eve.


The celebration decorations are mostly in red.

Houses are decorated with red Spring Festival couplets, red lanterns, and red paper cuttings; city streets are lit up by red lanterns; and numerous people are dressed in red. This is because red in Chinese culture is the symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. These red decorations are to the festival what Christmas trees are to Christmas.
 Read more about How to Decorate for Chinese New Year.

Chinese Fireworks Show
Fireworks Show at Hong Kong Victoria Harbour
Red Lanterns
Red lanterns decorate city streets.


“Guo Nian Hao” is one of the most used greetings.

This is like the westerners saying “Merry Christmas” to each other on Christmas Day. It means “Happy New Year”.

Why is the celebration also called "Guo Nian"? "Nian”is the Chinese word for year. In folk culture, the Spring Festival celebration is also called “Guo Nian” (meaning “passing a year”). In a Chinese New Year story, “Nian” is a fierce and cruel monster which eats livestock and kids, but it is scared of red color and cracker sound. Therefore, people use red decorations and fireworks to drive away “Nian”.
 Learn more Chinese New Year Greetings

Fun Facts about Chinese New Year for Kids

Everyone wears new clothes.

Kids are especially happy to show their beautiful new clothes to their little friends and others.

Kids receive red envelopes as gifts.

Red Envelops
Red envelopes are the best gifts for kids.

Instead of wrapped gifts that western nationalities give at Christmas, children get red envelopes stuffed with lucky money from grandparents, uncles, aunts and other elders who have started to earn their way. The happy fact is that kids are allowed to spend the money as they like.

They can eat various delicious foods.

The most famous festival food is dumplings. Additionally, many others are served to treat the families, including rice cakes (Niangao), spring rolls, fish, and rice dumplings. They are served not only at the reunion dinner, but during the whole holiday; not only at home, but at relatives' places and temple fairs.
 7 Chinese New Year Foods that will Bring You Good Luck

They can enjoy various festive shows.

They include lion and dragon dances, shehuo folk shows, and opera performances. What’s more, this is the only time in the year that you can set off fireworks.

Everyone gets one year older.

It is like a national birthday and it doesn’t matter when you were born. For kids, it means they are able to do more things on their own.

- Last modified on Dec. 12, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Top 10 Chinese New Year Facts
Asked by Linda Hwang from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 06, 2018 17:16Reply
Chinese New Year
during Chinese New Year is Beijing and Shanghai having a blackout period as in Hong Kong?
Answers (1)
Answered by Anna from CANADA | Nov. 07, 2018 18:15

As I know, there is no blackout period in these two cities.
Asked by "I" from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 18, 2018 22:25Reply
Why do they give red envelopes with money instead of normal presents??
Answers (1)
Answered by Taylor from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 21, 2018 20:23

According to the Chinese culture, Chinese Character Year (岁suì) has the same pronunciation with the monster's name (祟Suì), the people called the coins Ya Sui Qian, meaning “lucky money warding off the evil spirit”. As time passed, paper notes replaced the coins and the envelope replaced the thread. In addition, red is the most popular and auspicious color in China, so people use this way to share blessings and happiness to each other.
Asked by anaya from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 15, 2018 03:28Reply
why is there a animal for chinese new year?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ian from USA | Feb. 20, 2018 15:59

Is just a tradition (zodiac animal) that’s is celebrated by them.
Asked by Tony from USA | Jan. 21, 2018 14:51Reply
What calendar year (not zodiac) will it be with the Chinese New Year?
Answers (3)
Answered by Heloise from FINLAND | Jan. 22, 2018 00:33

2018 Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 in Gregorian calendar.
Answered by chloe from FRENCH GUIANA | Feb. 13, 2018 03:26

This year is the year of the dog.
Next year is the year of the pig.
Answered by Edward from USA | Feb. 15, 2018 16:29

Tony's question was not answered. What is the current Chinese "calendar year": The current Gregorian calendar year is 2018 AD. What is the current Chinese numerical year? (example: the year 5436).
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