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Chinese New Year in China

Chinese New Year celebrations, also known as the Spring Festival, in China start on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The festival lasts for about 23 days, ending on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the following 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.
Chinese New Year decorations, including red envelopes for money.
©iStockphoto.com/Liang Zhang

What Do People Do?

Many people clean their homes to welcome the Spring Festival. They put up the red posters with poetic verses on it to their doors, Chinese New Year pictures on their walls, and decorate their homes with red lanterns. It is also a time to reunite with relatives so many people visit their families at this time of the year.

In the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away any bad luck and bring forth good luck. Children often receive “luck” money. Many people wear new clothes and send Chinese New Year greetings to each other. Various activities such as beating drums and striking gongs, as well as dragon and lion dances, are all part of the Spring Festival festivities.

Public Life

The Spring Festival is a national holiday in China. Government offices, schools, universities and many companies are closed during the period from the Spring Festival Eve to the seventh day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. However, some enterprises such as banks often arrange for workers to be on shift duty. Public transport is available during the Chinese New Year period.


According to historical documents, on the day when Shun, who was one of ancient China’s mythological emperors, came to the throne more than 4000 years ago, he led his ministers to worship heaven and earth. From then on, that day was regarded as the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This is the basic origin of Chinese New Year. China adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1911, so Chinese New Year was renamed the Spring Festival.


The red posters with poetic verses on it were initially a type of amulet, but now it simply means good fortune and joy. Various Chinese New Year symbols express different meanings. For example, an image of a fish symbolizes “having more than one needs every year”. A firecracker symbolizes “good luck in the coming year”. The festival lanterns symbolize “pursuing the bright and the beautiful”.

About Chinese New Year in other countries

Read more about Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
SunFeb 142010Chinese New YearNational holiday
ThuFeb 32011Chinese New YearNational holiday
MonJan 232012Chinese New YearNational holiday
SunFeb 102013Chinese New YearNational holiday
FriJan 312014Chinese New YearNational holiday
ThuFeb 192015Chinese New YearNational holiday
MonFeb 82016Chinese New YearNational holiday
SatJan 282017Chinese New YearNational holiday
FriFeb 162018Chinese New YearNational holiday
TueFeb 52019Chinese New YearNational holiday
SatJan 252020Chinese New YearNational holiday

Quick Facts

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the largest celebratory events in China.

Chinese New Year 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chinese New Year 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Name in other languages

Chinese New YearEnglish
Chinesisches NeujahrGerman
Kinesisk nyttårNorwegian

Alternative name

Spring Festival

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in February 2017 in China

Fun Holiday on February 8, 2017

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