Chinese New Year

Chinese new year is on Saturday, January 28 (The year of Rooster)


The Chinese New Year usually happens between late January and mid-February depending upon the position of the new moon for that time of the year. It is also known as the Spring Festival, as it indicates the end of winter. The festival continues for 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival on the final day.

According to Chinese calendar, New Year 2017 falls on Saturday, January 28, 2017. The year 2017 is known as the Year of the Rooster.



Chinese Calendar

Rat 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Ox 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Tiger 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Rabbit 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Dragon 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Snake 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Horse 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Sheep 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Monkey 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Rooster 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
Dog 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Boar 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
Future Chinese New Year dates:
2013 - Feb 10 - Snake
2014 - Jan 31 - Horse
2015 - Feb 19 - Sheep
2016 - Feb 08 - Monkey
2017 - Jan 28 - Rooster

Chinese New Year Traditions and Celebrations

Here’s how the festival is observed by the Chinese.


Celebrations on preceding days:

  • On the days prior to New Year, the Chinese make sure they clean and adorn their homes. On the eighth day prior to the celebration, they rustle up a traditional porridge recipe

  • The Chinese New Year’s Eve is observed with a special dinner including chicken and fish. The Chinese also eat dumplings at midnight.

  • In South China, people follow the tradition of baking a New Year cake known as “Niangao” and gifting it to friends and family.

  • On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese visit temples, light the incense stick, and offer their prayers with the hope of a brighter tomorrow. They also light firecrackers to get rid of evil spirits. 

Celebrations on preceding days
.........................................................................................................................................................

First day of the festival:

  • On the 1st day of the New Year festival, the Chinese avoid eating meat, as they believe it will increase their longevity. They light fires and perform lion dances.

  • The elder members of the family offer gifts of money in red envelopes to the junior members. Red color is a sign of good luck and fortune in Chinese culture.

  • A special highlight of the celebrations on this day is the use of fireworks and firecrackers.

First day of the festival
.........................................................................................................................................................

Second day:

  • The 2nd day of this festival is known as God of Wealth’s birthday. Business organizations hold a “Hoi Nin” prayer to start a venture, as they believe that they will be blessed with good luck and fortune.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Third day:

  • The third day of Chinese New Year Festival is called ‘chi kou’. This is the day when people organize family gatherings and visit temples. It is considered to be an auspicious day to learn about one’s future.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Fourth day:

  • On the fourth day of the Spring Festival in China, corporate spring dinners are organized

.........................................................................................................................................................

Fifth day:

  • People eat traditional Chinese dumplings or Jiaozi on the fifth day of their New Year festival. Display of fireworks is an important feature of the celebrations on this day. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Sixth day:

  • On this day, business houses re-open after they shoot off firecrackers. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Seventh day:

  • The seventh day of Chinese Spring Festival is known as “Renri” which means the common man’s birthday.

  • The Chinese communities in Malaysia and Singapore eat tossed raw fish and yusheng as a sign of growing wealth and success. The Chinese Buddhists don’t eat meat on this day, as they observe it as the birth anniversary of Sakra, Lord of the Buddhist devas.   

.........................................................................................................................................................

Eight day:

  • A family dinner is organized on this day. Everyone is expected to get back to work by the eighth day of the New Year festival. Store owners host a dinner for their employees, thus expressing their gratitude for their hard work throughout the year. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Ninth day:

  • This is the day when the Chinese offer prayers in honor of the Jade Emperor of Heaven in observance of his birthday.

  • Certain offerings are made with the prayers, especially by the Hokkien community. The key item offered is sugarcane. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Tenth day:

  • The celebration of the birth anniversary of the Jade Emperor of Heaven continues on the tenth day of the Chinese New Year festival.  

.........................................................................................................................................................

Eleventh and twelfth days:

  • There are no prominent festivities on the eleventh and twelfth days of the New Year celebration in China. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Thirteenth day:

  • The Chinese dedicate this day to their God of war and the most famous General in China, Guan Yu. Everyone offers their prayers to Guan Yu on this day.

  • He is regarded as the symbol of wealth and success. Hence, business houses also conduct prayers in honor of Guan Yu.  

.........................................................................................................................................................

Fourteenth and fifteenth days:

  • The last two days of the New Year Festival in China are spent in making preparations for the Lantern Festival which is celebrated on the fifteenth day. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

Festive Food for Chinese New Year

Some of the dishes that people include in their feasts during the New Year celebrations are:

Eight Treasures Rice:

  • This dish comprises glutinous rice, sweet red bean paste, almonds, walnuts, and colored dry fruits. 

Eight Treasures Rice
.........................................................................................................................................................

Jiu Niang Tang:

  • It is a sweet wine-rice soup that has small gummy rice balls dipped into it. 


Jiu Niang Tang
.........................................................................................................................................................

Tang Yuan:

  • It is a black sesame rice ball soup.


Tang Yuan
.........................................................................................................................................................

Song Gao:

  • This is a small and sweet round cake made of coarsely ground rice.

  • As part of their New Year celebrations, the Chinese also cook a sweet soup made of cut-up fruits added to hot water that is combined with cornstarch or a thickening agent.

  • They also have dishes made of chicken, pork, duck, and fish. 


.........................................................................................................................................................

This is how the Chinese observe their New Year by following their traditions with a lot of enthusiasm.