Chinese New Year

Chinese new year is on Friday , 16 February (The year of Dog)

Chinese new year

The Chinese New Year is a very significant festival of China. The New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is celebrated at the beginning of the first calendar month. The fifteen-day long Chinese New Year is celebrated in the months of January-February and the first day of the festivals occurs on the new moon. The first day of the upcoming Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16, 2018 and is the Year of the Dog.

Chinese New Year Animals

Chinese new year

Every Chinese New Year is represented by an animal and the animal zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. Each animal has its own attributes. The 12 animals associated with the Chinese New Year are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The 2018 Chinese New Year is dedicated to the dog and symbolizes luck.


Significance and Legends

Chinese new year

The Chinese New Year gains significance because of the myths and the legends that have been associated with it. People, on this day, take the opportunity to pay obeisance to their ancestors and various deities.

The Chinese New Year has an interesting story attached to it. According to a legend, the the origin of the New Year has been attributed to a mythical beast Nian. The malevolent and terrifying beast would prey on villages, especially children to satiate its hunger. Fearful for their lives, all villagers, except one old man, decided to leave the village. Despite requests to leave, the old man was adamant citing that he planned revenge on the beast. Thinking him crazy the villagers departed, leaving the old man behind. The beast, as was expected, came in the dead of night searching for its prey, but came across the old man who had put up red papers and was waiting with firecrackers.

Upon seeing the beast the man exploded the firecrackers and the beast fled in terror. When the villagers arrived in the morning expecting to come across devastation, they were in for a pleasant surprise as everything was intact. The villagers were elated and applauded the old man who they considered as a deity. They also came to know that red paper and fireworks were the instruments to keep the beast at bay. Thus, the Chinese New Year originated and is being celebrated to this day with pomp and gaiety.


Celebrations

Chinese new year

One of the biggest festivals in China, the people get to enjoy seven consecutive holidays. Each day of the fifteen-day long festival is marked by fun and gaiety. The day before the start of the Chinese New Year witnesses family gathering together for the annual reunion dinner. This is also the period when people dispel ill-fortune and usher in good luck by cleaning their homes. Red, the color which frightened the beast, is an important color and the sight of red paper cuts adorning the windows and doors of almost every home is a common sight on these days. These paper cuts carry eloquent messages of optimism, happiness, good fortune, wealth, long life, etc. In the evening people burst firecrackers. Charity is an important aspect of the Chinese New Year and people donate money to the needy, which is presented in red color envelops. Elaborate meals are also cooked on this day and eaten by families and friends. The specialty of these meals are the dumplings.

According to Chinese calendar, New Year 2018 falls on Friday , 16 February. The year 2018 is known as the Year of the Dog.

Festivities of Chinese New Year day wise

New Years' Eve - On the New Year's Eve, there is a family dinner commonly known as "Annual Reunion Dinner". This meal can be compared to the Thanksgiving dinner in the US. People exchange gifts and give blessings to each other. Some people go to local temples to pray.

First Day On the first day of the festival, Chinese avoid consuming meat. A great display of fireworks and firecrackers can be seen on this day.

Second Day The Second day is believed to be the birthday of Che Kung, a deity, so usually, worshippers go to temples to seek the blessings of the deity. It is also believed to be the birthday of God of Wealth so business organizations hold a prayer named "Hoi Nin" to get blessed with luck and fortune.

Third Day- The third day is usually known as "red mouth" or Chigou's Day". This day is considered as the best to know about one's future. Family gatherings are organized on this day.

Fourth Day The fourth day is dedicated to the Spring festival. It marks the arrival of Spring, so various springs dinners are cooked and served.

Fifth Day- This day is the main day when one can witness various types of fireworks in the sky. People eat Chinese dumplings, jiaozi, etc on this day.

Sixth Day- After the bursting of firecrackers, the business houses re-open on this day.

Seventh Day- Seventh Day is commonly known as "Renri". It is also called the common person's birth day. The raw fish salad is eaten on the seventh day of festivities.

Eighth Day- This is the day when holidays are over and people return to their work. On this day, the owners of companies organize a dinner to appreciate the hard work of their employees.

Ninth Day- The ninth day is called "Ti Kong Dan". It is the day when Chinese offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven in the Daoist Pantheon.

Tenth Day- The celebrations of the birth of the Jade Emperor continues to this day.

Eleventh Day- There are no specific celebrations on this day.

Twelfth Day- No celebrations are planned for this day, people celebrate this day as per their choice.

Thirteenth Day- The thirteenth day is reserved for the Chinese God of War and the most famous General "Guan Yu". Prayers are offered to the God of War to get blessings.

Fourteenth Day- This day is reserved for preparing lanterns that are to be lit on the next day which is the last day of festivity.

Fifteenth Day- This is the day of the festival of lanterns. It is commonly known as "Yuanxiao Festival" or "Shangyuan Festival". This day is also marked as Valentines' Day where individuals seek for a romantic partner.
This day marks the ending of festivities of the Chinese New Year.



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
2018 - Feb 16 - Dog

Last Updated: 9th February, 2018