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Lunar New Year in China

Lunar 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.

Is Lunar New Year a Public Holiday?

Lunar New Year is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

In 2023, it falls on a Sunday, and some businesses may choose to follow Sunday opening hours.

Lunar 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, Lunar 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 Lunar 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 Lunar 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According to historical documents, on the day when Shun, who was one of ancient China’s mythological emperors, came to the throne more than 4000 years ago, he led his ministers to worship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 Lunar New Year.

China adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1911, so Lunar New Year was renamed the Spring Festival.


Each new year year is represented by a Zodiac animal sign. The red posters with poetic verses on it were initially a type of amulet, but now it simply means good fortune and joy. Various Lunar 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 Lunar New Year in Other Countries

Read more about Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2018FriFeb 16Lunar New YearNational holiday
2019TueFeb 5Lunar New YearNational holiday
2020SatJan 25Lunar New YearNational holiday
2021FriFeb 12Lunar New YearNational holiday
2022TueFeb 1Lunar New YearNational holiday
2023SunJan 22Lunar New YearNational holiday
2024SatFeb 10Lunar New YearNational holiday
2025WedJan 29Lunar New YearNational holiday
2026TueFeb 17Lunar New YearNational holiday
2027SatFeb 6Lunar New YearNational holiday
2028WedJan 26Lunar New YearNational holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.