Chinese New Year
Home / Tips / Holidays in China / Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

Happy Chinese New Year!
2016 Chinese New Year falls on February 8. It is the Year of the Monkey according to Chinese zodiac. 2017 Chinese New Year will fall on January 28. It will be a great chance to experience the traditional folk customs!
Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history. It is the grandest and the most important annual event for Chinese people.
 
12 zodiac signs of Chinese New Year
12 animal signs of Chinese zodiac

Time for Family Reunion

Being one of the traditional festivals, it is the time for the whole families to reunite together, which is similar with Christmas Day to the westerners.
 

The Longest Public Holiday

The festival lasts for 15 days from the 1st to 15th day of the first lunar month, and in folklore it starts even earlier, from the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month. Most employees will have seven days off work, while students take one month absence from school.
 

Holiday Origins from Monster Nian

Originating during the Shang Dynasty (17th - 11th century BC), the festival used to be observed to fight against the monster "Nian" who liked to eat children and livestock. The monster was afraid of red color and loud sound. Therefore, people decorated their houses in red and set off firecrackers to expel it.
 
Based on Chinese lunar calendar, the New Year has no exact date and it changes each year, but it mostly falls on a day from January 21st to February 20th in Gregorian calendar. The lunar calendar also defines the 12-year repeating cycle of Chinese zodiac, and each year is named after an animal.
 
Year Date Holiday Zodiac Sign
2016 February 8 February 7 - 13 Monkey
2017 January 28 January 27 - February 2 Rooster
2018 February 16 February 15 - 21 Dog
2019 February 5 February 4 - 6 Pig
2020 January 25 January 24 - 30 Rat
2021 February 12 February 11 - 17 Ox
The preparation starts seven days before the New Year's Eve, and the holiday celebration will last to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month. Following a day-by-day guide, Chinese people have different things to do on each day. Among these days, the Eve and the first day are the peak time, when people will have big dinners and set off fireworks.
Before the Spring Festival, every family will have a thorough house cleanup and go for festival items shopping. The spring couplets, Fu Character, and animal paper cut are pasted for decoration. Also, new clothes must be bought, especially for children. At the reunion dinner on New Year's Eve, people from north will eat dumplings, which southern people are used to have Niangao (glutinous rice cake). Red Envelopes are given to kids and elders to share the blessing.
New practices and activities take place as some old traditions fade away. The train and bus tickets can be scarcely purchased during the Spring Festival Travel Rush; newlyweds squabble over whose home to go; bachelors are so anxious and stressed that they rent a fake girlfriend home; socializing by phones are highly welcomed.
At the start of a fresh lunar year, Chinese people will take their daily practices as predictive signs for the coming year. Many bad words like "death", "broken", "killing", "ghost" and "illness" or "sickness" are forbidden during conversations. Crying, washing, lending and taking medicine are also considered unlucky.
 
Spring Festival Taboos
Chinese New Year Taboos
  • Liquor
  • Cigarettes
  • Tea
  • Fruits
  • Healthcare Products
  • Red Envelopes

See more Proper Gifts
vs
  • Clock
  • Umbrella
  • Shoes
  • Pears
  • Sharp Objects
  • Chrysanthemums

See more Gifts to be Avoided
In China, different places have their own traditions and activities to celebrate this grand festival. Beijing, Guangzhou, Xian and Pingyao with authentic folk activities are good places to go if one intends to come during the holiday. Join a tour with us to the top destinations retaining wonderful scenic spots and cultural heritage.
Beijing during Spring Festival
Beijing Highlights

4 Days Beijing Tour to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall…

Lantern Fair in Xian
Best of China

8 Days Beijing - Xian - Shanghai, touring top three destinations in China

Firework Show in Hong Kong
Oriental Delights

12 Days Luxury & Standard Hong Kong - Guilin - Xian - Shanghai - Beijing

The festival is not only observed in China mainland, but also celebrated in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, some Asian countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, and also Chinatowns in USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. The traditions also evolve into their unique ways of celebration.