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Chinese New Year in Australia

Quick Facts

Chinese New Year marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.

Local names

NameLanguage
Chinese New YearEnglish
Chinesisches NeujahrGerman

Alternative name

Spring Festival

Chinese New Year 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015
List of dates for other years

Many Australians celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. It marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.

Studio shot of red envelope with money and chinese lunar new year decoration

Chinese New Year decorations, including red envelopes for money.

©iStockphoto.com/Liang Zhang

What do people do?

Like in many countries around the world, Chinese New Year celebrations in Australia include the following events and activities:

Many Chinese Australian families spend Chinese New Year by gathering together for a festive meal. Children often receive red envelopes with money (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See). The Chinese New Year celebrations can last for about 15 days. It is usually a busy time filled with festive programs across different communities in Australia.

Public life

Chinese New Year is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia. However, some Chinese businesses may be closed on the day or amend their business hours to take part in the Chinese New Year festivities. There may be heavy traffic and some streets may be closed in towns or cities where Chinese New Year celebrations are held.

Background

Chinese people first came to Australia in large numbers during Australia’s Gold Rush in the 1850s and 1860s. About one-third of the miners were Chinese. Many Chinese-Australian families can trace their settlement in Australia to that time. Monuments and buildings developed by Chinese settlers serve as reminders of the long history of Chinese immigration to Australia. Examples remain in towns such as Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria. The Chinese-Australian community holds a variety of events to celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year.

Symbols

Chinese New Year has various symbols and traditions. For example, flowers are an important part of New Year decorations. Writings that refer to good luck are often seen in homes and business environments. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper. Tangerines and oranges are also displayed in many homes and stores as a sign of luck and wealth.

Envelopes with money (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See) often come in the color red, which symbolizes happiness, good luck, success and good fortune.  These envelopes are mainly given as presents to children. Each Chinese New Year is associated with an animal name for one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

About Chinese New Year in other countries

Read more about Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SatJan 271990Chinese New YearObservance 
FriFeb 151991Chinese New YearObservance 
TueFeb 41992Chinese New YearObservance 
SatJan 231993Chinese New YearObservance 
ThuFeb 101994Chinese New YearObservance 
TueJan 311995Chinese New YearObservance 
MonFeb 191996Chinese New YearObservance 
FriFeb 71997Chinese New YearObservance 
WedJan 281998Chinese New YearObservance 
TueFeb 161999Chinese New YearObservance 
SatFeb 52000Chinese New YearObservance 
WedJan 242001Chinese New YearObservance 
TueFeb 122002Chinese New YearObservance 
SatFeb 12003Chinese New YearObservance 
ThuJan 222004Chinese New YearObservance 
WedFeb 92005Chinese New YearObservance 
SunJan 292006Chinese New YearObservance 
SunFeb 182007Chinese New YearObservance 
ThuFeb 72008Chinese New YearObservance 
MonJan 262009Chinese New YearObservance 
SunFeb 142010Chinese New YearObservance 
ThuFeb 32011Chinese New YearObservance 
MonJan 232012Chinese New YearObservance 
SunFeb 102013Chinese New YearObservance 
FriJan 312014Chinese New YearObservance 
ThuFeb 192015Chinese New YearObservance 
MonFeb 82016Chinese New YearObservance 
SatJan 282017Chinese New YearObservance 
FriFeb 162018Chinese New YearObservance 
TueFeb 52019Chinese New YearObservance 
SatJan 252020Chinese New YearObservance 

Other holidays in January 2014 in Australia

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