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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.

Is Chinese New Year a Public Holiday?

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

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.

Background

According to historical documents, on the day when Shun, who was one of ancient China’s mythological emperors, came to the throne more than 4000 years ago, he led his ministers to worship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

Symbols

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 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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunFeb 14Chinese New YearNational holiday
2011ThuFeb 3Chinese New YearNational holiday
2012MonJan 23Chinese New YearNational holiday
2013SunFeb 10Chinese New YearNational holiday
2014FriJan 31Chinese New YearNational holiday
2015ThuFeb 19Chinese New YearNational holiday
2016MonFeb 8Chinese New YearNational holiday
2017SatJan 28Chinese New YearNational holiday
2018FriFeb 16Chinese New YearNational holiday
2019TueFeb 5Chinese New YearNational holiday
2020SatJan 25Chinese New YearNational holiday

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