Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year: Everything You Need to Know

The Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China’s most important festival. It is a celebration that honours the start of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.

It is a 15-day festival in China and worldwide that begins with the new moon on January 21st.

Different places celebrate the Chinese New Year in different ways, but people everywhere emphasise peace and prosperity. They give special foods as gifts, decorate their homes with flowers and plants, and light firecrackers to frighten evil spirits away.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated for two reasons. The first reason is that it is the beginning of spring in China when life returns to the land. The second reason is that it is believed to be the night when the first ancestors traveled on a bridge of stars from heaven to earth. For this reason, many Chinese people ask for guidance from their deceased relatives during the festival.

Significance of the Chinese New Year

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The new year is a time for family reunions and feasting. Firecrackers, fireworks, lanterns, and lights brighten homes, streets, shops, and temples. Houses are cleaned and decorated to make them fresh and bright for the new year.

The Spring Festival is the most important of all traditional festivals in China, marking the beginning of spring according to the solar term by the lunar calendar. It is a national holiday in China and many other Asian nations to welcome a new year.

The Chinese New Year is an essential time for Chinese people as it is a time of gathering with families and friends and a time for new beginnings and change.

Chinese New Year Dates

In the modern-day, the Chinese New Year is celebrated on a fixed date, which falls on the new moon between January 21st and February 20th of the Gregorian calendar.

The Gregorian calendar is the world’s most widespread civil calendar and has been around since 1582. The Chinese New Year dates can change year-on-year, generally moving in one day earlier each year.

This year, Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday, February 1st.

Celebrations will last all week in Phuket Town. Read on and find out more about this great event.

The Chinese Zodiac

According to the Chinese zodiac system, each year is related to a specific animal, and the 12-year cycle repeats every 60 years, except for the 60th year, known as the Year of the Fire-Dog.

If an animal is designated for a year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, that animal is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for that year. People born in these years are said to have the personalities of that animal.

The 12 animals in the zodiac cycle are rat, ox, Tiger, rabbit (or hare), dragon, snake (or serpent), horse, sheep, or ram (sometimes called a goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

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Rat
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Dragon
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Monkey
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OX
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Snake
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Rooster
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Tiger
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Horse
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Dog
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Rabbit
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Goat
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Pig

In the past, people did not include a Fire Dog year in the 60-year cycle because they believed that someone born in this year would have a bad temper. According to the legend of the Jade Emperor, people born in this year are supposed to be bad-tempered and stubborn.

This year is the year of the Tiger that will begin on the new moon on February 1st 2022.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Many Chinese New Year traditions have been passed down through the centuries. The following list outlines some of those customs practised during this time of year.:

  • Cleaning and Decorating Houses with red things: Traditionally, people clean their homes before the new year. Many of them also decorate their houses with red things because it is believed that red can scare away evil spirits.
  • Wearing New Clothes: It is also a traditional custom to wear new clothes in the new year. The reason is that people believe that wearing new clothes would invite good luck and fortune in the New Year.
  • Offering Sacrifices to Ancestors: The practice of honouring the deceased is a Chinese New Year’s custom that has been upheld to the letter. Many Chinese people visit their ancestors’ graves and burn incense to honour them during the Spring Festival in the twelfth lunar month. People offer sacrifices and hold feasts to be happy in the afterlife.
  • Family Reunion Dinner on New Year’s Eve: Another Chinese New Year practice is the reunion dinner on the night of New Year’s Eve. It’s a time where family members get together to eat dinner and celebrate the coming of a new year.
  • Red Envelopes: People also often give red envelopes to children. Typically, the envelope contains money, and the children are supposed to use it for self-spending during their spring break.
  • Fireworks: Most people in China let off fireworks during the Chinese New Year. The custom is believed to scare away devils and other evil spirits. The tradition also wishes people prosperity, good health, and good fortune.
  • Lion or dragon dance: Many regions in China have local customs about lion or dragon dances. According to the tradition, these dances bring good luck and fortune in the new year. The lion dance is also performed during weddings, birthdays, and other important events.
  • Festival of Lanterns: The Lantern Festival is also celebrated during the Chinese New Year in most regions. During this day, many people release sky lanterns into the air as a symbol of letting go of all bad things from the past year and making way for good luck in the new year.

Chinese New Year Food

Chinese New Year celebrations are incomplete without their traditional food. In China, people eat certain dishes on the new year’s celebration day and during the New Year’s Eve dinner. Some of the important meals are mentioned below:

Fish: Fish is a typical dish served on the Chinese New Year because it sounds like “abundance” in Mandarin. It is believed that serving fish during the new year would bring an abundance of good luck and fortune into a person’s life.

Dumplings: A dumpling is a type of food that comprises dough wrapped around a filling or dough with no filler. The dough may be made from bread, flour, or potatoes, and it can be filled with meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, fruits, or sweets. It is believed that wealth is hidden inside the dumplings, and eating them on Chinese New Year would bring wealth into a person’s life.

Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Balls): Another delicious Chinese New Year food is Tangyuan. It combines glutinous rice flour, water, and milk. The mixture can be flavoured with sugar and other ingredients such as sesame seeds, black beans, and peanuts. The balls are then boiled until they float to the surface. The word “tangyuan” comes from a poem, which means sweetness and fullness in life.

Good Fortune Fruit: One of the most popular ways to celebrate Chinese New Year is to eat oranges. Orange symbolises good fortune, happiness, and prosperity. It is believed that the more oranges you eat on Chinese new year’s eve, the more good luck will come to you. Other fruits are associated with good fortune are tangerines, grapefruits, and pomelos.

Longevity Noodles: It is a custom to eat long noodles on the first Chinese New Year, symbolising long life. The tradition is believed to stretch on and on every year after enjoying a good dinner.

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Thailand?

The people of Thailand celebrate the Chinese New Year differently. On this day, the people of Thailand go to the temples to light incense sticks or buy joss sticks. People also offer fruits, flowers, and candles to the gods. The people of Thailand wear new clothes on this day, as it is also associated with good luck.

As for the food, there are many traditional dishes that Thai people eat on this day, but perhaps an essential dish is “Khao tom mat” or rice cakes filled with beans. This dish is eaten on the Chinese New Year because it sounds like “Khai tom mat” means “having a prosperous year.”

So, these are the most important Chinese New Year traditions and celebrations. The day is spent with lots of fun activities with family members, good food, and wishing each other a prosperous new year.

Bottom Line: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a day to celebrate the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated in many Asian countries. This Public holiday usually falls around late January to February.

It is one of the most important traditions for many Asians, particularly in China and Taiwan. The holiday is celebrated with parades, parties, and gift-giving. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Chinese New Year!

When is the traditional Thai New Year?

This traditional Thai New Year festival takes place on April 13th and celebrates the Thai solar calendar.