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Chinese New Year 2018 - The Year of the Dog

Dates of Chinese New Year Celebration in 2018: Feb. 15th, 2018 (Chinese New Year's Eve) to Mar. 2nd, 2018 (Lantern Festival).

Chinese New Year in 2018 falls on Friday February 16th, being the start of the Year of the Dog. The year ends on February 4th, 2019 according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

When Is Chinese New Year?

With over 4,000 years of history, Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, remains the most important cultural holiday for Chinese people.

The festival begins officially on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January or early February) and ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month (the Lantern Festival), thus lasting 15 days.

Why Do Chinese People Celebrate Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate good luck during the previous year and to wish for a prosperous new year.

Celebrations include having an annual reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve, setting off firecrackers, giving lucky money to children, ringing the New Year bell, sending Chinese New Year greetings, dragon and lion dancing, and Niu Yangge (traditional dances in northern China).

Traditional Customs for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a time to:

  • get rid of the old and make way for the new;
  • worship Heaven and pray for a bumper harvest year;
  • reunite the whole family and honor the ancestors;
  • participate in all kinds of creativity and having fun…

What with integrating prayers, celebrations and entertainment, Chinese New Year is a grand occasion for the Chinese nation. To this day, apart from activities for worshiping gods, which are downplayed, the major customs for Chinese New Year are well preserved and developed:

House Cleaning

With the intention of sweeping all rotten luck out the door, house-cleaning means doing away with the “old” and preparing for the “new”.

House Decorations

Among the house decorations are auspicious couplets posted on doors, in the hope of attracting good luck.

Couplets

Hung on the columns of a hall on lunar New Year’s Eve, couplets mostly describe the bustling atmosphere during the festival and express people’s hopes for prosperity in the New Year.

Family Reunion Dinner

The feast on New Year’s Eve is a “compulsory" banquet, with all family members getting together.

Waiting for the First Bell to Ring

Chinese people believe that the ringing of a huge bell can drive bad luck away and bring good fortune.

Staying up Late ("Shousui")

After the great dinner, families often sit together and chat happily, to welcome in the New Year.

Setting Off Firecrackers

Creating a lovely festive atmosphere, firecrackers used to be an indispensable custom at Spring Festival

New Year’s Greetings (Bai Nian)

Everyone wears new clothes and greets relatives and friends with bows and gongxi (congratulations) on the first day of the New Year, wishing each other good luck and happiness in the year ahead.

Lucky Money (Hong Bao or Red Envelopes)

With the hope of bringing good luck and warding off monsters, lucky money is given to kids by their parents and grandparents, as New Year gifts.

Click here for more details.

Minority Ethnic Groups’ Customs for Chinese New Year

Ethnic Minority

Customs

Zhuang

Singing ballads, playing peg-tops, dancing, ball games, and operas

Tibetan

Worshiping mountain and river gods with colorful flags and hanging streamers, on the third day of New Year

Mongolian

Toasting and presenting hada to each other as a greeting gift in the early morning of New Year’s Day

Bai

Exchanging gifts, visiting relatives, folk dancing

Buyi

Girls vying to carry water from the river in the early morning of New Year’s Day

Korean

Young and old indulging in singing and dancing, seesawing and tug-of-war

Daur

Playing hockey and fancy ball, listening to storytelling

Gaoshan

Dressing in ethnic costume, gathering and drinking wine, singing and dancing with music, convening sports

Hezhen

Teenagers indulging in skiing, grass-target shooting, spearing grass balls

She

Pounding glutinous rice cakes

Tujia

Folk dancing, dragon and lion dancing, performing local operas

Wa

Gathering at the square and dancing in a circle

Click here for more details about Minority Customs for Spring Festival.

Day-by-Day Celebrations

Date

Celebrations

The 23rd or 24th day of the last lunar month (“Xiǎo Nián” 小年)

Worshipping the Kitchen God, cleaning houses

Chinese New Year’s Eve (“Chú Xī”除夕)

Pasting couplets,  enjoying a family reunion dinner, playing cards, playing Mahjong, watching the CCTV New Year’s Gala

Day 1

Lighting firecrackers, visiting older people and wishing them a happy New Year (“Bài Nián”, 拜年)

Day 2 (“Kāi Nián”开年)

Offering sacrifices to the God of Fortune and married daughters visiting parental homes with their husbands

Day 3

Staying at home

Day 4 (“Yáng Rì羊日, the Day of the Goat)

Welcoming and worshipping gods, collecting and throwing out all rubbish

Day 5 (“Pò Wǔ破五,)

Celebrating the birthday of the God of Fortune, with a large banquet

Day 6

Banishing the ghost of poverty

Day 7 (“Rén Rì人日, the day of the human)

Eating Qī Bǎo Gēng七宝羹, dispelling fire disasters

Day 8

celebrating the birthday of millet

Day 9

celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor, the supreme Deity of Taoism

Day 10 (“Shí Bú Dòng”石不动)

the birthday of the god of stone, not moving any stone

Day 11

fathers-in-law entertaining sons-in-law

Day 12

preparing for the Lantern Festival

Day 15 (“Yuán Xiāo Jié元宵节)

Eating Tāng Yuán 汤圆, dragon dancing and lion dancing parades in the streets, seeing lanterns

Click here for more details about Celebrations.

Taboos

 

Click here for more details about Taboos.

Food

Family Reunion Dinner:
Southern China – typically steamed fish, Cantonese poached chicken, and red braised pork
Northern China – mostly hotpot, noodles, dumplings, and New Year’s cake (Nián Gāo)

Other Festive Food:
Laba Porridge – the 8th day of the last lunar month
Sticky Rice Dumplings (Tāng Yuán 汤圆) – the Lantern Festival

Click here for more about Chinese New Year Food.

Legends

Spring Festival is also called Guo Nian in Chinese. “Guo” means to pass over and “Nian” or "Year" in Chinese refers to a mythical beast that will bring bad luck.

There was a big horned monster called Nian living all year at the bottom of the sea, but coming out on Spring Festival Eve to devour all kinds of things and villagers, especially children. So people would flee from their homes to remote mountains, to escape the danger…

Click Chinese New Year Legends to see the complete story.

Modern Culture

Spring Festival Travel Season

The Spring Festival Travel Season, also referred to “Chūn Yùn” 春运, is a period of busy travel around Chinese New Year, with extremely heavy traffic. The phrase was first coined in the People’s Daily newspaper, in 1980.

The period usually begins 15 days before lunar New Year’s Day, and lasts a total of 40 days. The Spring Rush in 2019 will be from January 21 to March 1, during which train and bus tickets will be in great demand.

Want to know more? Click Spring Rush.

CCTV New Year’s Gala

The CCTV New Year’s Gala, often referred to “Chūn Wǎn” 春晚, is a variety entertainment show with a combination of modern media and folk customs.

Since 1983 when it was first broadcast, four hours before the beginning of New Year, the Gala has become the “new folklore, new culture” of the Chinese, and a must-see TV show on New Year’s Eve.

Since its inception, it has been the most watched television program in China. It has also been accredited in the Guinness Book of Records as the national TV show with the largest audience in the world.

Click New Year Gala to learn more information.

Chinese New Year Dates

Year

Date

Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Lunar Years with the Same Zodiac

2017

January 28th (Saturday)

Rooster

1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

2018

February 16th (Friday)

Dog

1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

2019

February 5th (Tuesday)

Pig

1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

2020

January 25th (Saturday)

Rat

1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

2021

February 12th (Friday)

Ox

1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

2022

February 1st (Tuesday)

Tiger

1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

2023

January 22nd (Wednesday)

Rabbit

1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

2024

February 10th (Saturday)

Dragon

1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Click here for more details.

Greetings

xīn nián kuài lè 新年快乐!

Happy New Year!

gōng xǐ fā cái 恭喜发财!

Wishing you a prosperous New Year!

hé jiā huān lè 阖家欢乐!

Wishing you a happy family!

cái yuán guǎng jìn 财源广进!

Wishing you plentiful money and treasures!

zhù nǐ xīn de yì nián wàn shì rú yì
祝你新的一年万事如意!

May everything turn out as you wish in the coming year!

Click here to see more Chinese New Year Greetings.

Travel Tips

Traveling China during the Spring Festival period has both advantages and disadvantages. We recommend you have a look at Chinese New Year Travel Tips.

Travel Destinations

Destination

Celebration Activities or Venues During Chinese New Year

Beijing

Spring Festival carnivals, Peking Opera, acrobatics shows, tea culture displays

Hong Kong

Chinese New Year Night Parade, New Year Fireworks Display, New Year Flower Market, Chinese New Year Horse Racing

Harbin

Go skiing and see Harbin Ice and Snow World

Chengdu

Watch Sichuan Face-Changing Opera, play Mahjong while drinking tea

Shanghai

Full of parties, a large-scale of fireworks display on New Year’s Eve

Yunnan

See Yuanyang Terraced Fields, Red Fields in Dongchuan and Luoping Cole Flowers Fields

Click here for more details about Top Chinese New Year Destinations.