CHINESE NEW YEAR FAQ

background pattern divider

What is Chinese New Year?

Also known as “Spring Festival” in China, Chinese New Year is a Chinese holiday marked by lavish festivals celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year celebrations take place from the evening before the first day and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.

What are the origins?

Chinese New Year celebrations originated in ancient times when villagers would flee to the mountains to hide from the monster Nian that would haunt the village on New Year’s Eve. Then one old man scared away the monster by pasting red papers on doors, making loud noises with fire (before firecrackers), lighting candles inside houses, and wearing red clothes. From then on, the villagers did as the old man did every New Year’s Eve, which became an important way to celebrate the New Year.

How long is the celebration of the Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year celebrations last for about 23 days. They begin on the evening before the first day and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year begins on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (January) and end on the 15th day of the first lunar month (February).

What traditional foods are eaten?

Traditional Chinese New Year foods include dumplings and spring rolls, long noodles, fish, and oranges. These foods are considered lucky and symbolize certain virtues to live by in the New Year.

What traditional greetings should be used?

Chinese people greet each other with many different sayings during the Chinese New Year, wishing each other health, prosperity, and happiness. Greetings include, “Good Luck For This Dog Year” (gǒunián jíxiáng), “Happy New Year “ (Xīnnián hǎo), and “Wish you…” (Zhu nín...) when greeting elders.

What are the red envelopes for?

Chinese New Year gifts are given in the form of red envelopes filled with money. The color red symbolizes good luck. It is considered impolite to open a red envelope in front of the person who gifts it.

What is a lantern festival?

The Chinese New Year celebration ends with a lantern festival on the 15th day of the first day of the lunar month. The festival features the lighting of lanterns, extravagant decorations, traditional foods, fireworks, and dragon dances.

What clothing should you wear?

On New Year’s Day, Chinese people usually wear the color red as a symbol of good luck. Other bright colors are also worn, but never black or white.

What gifts are given during Chinese New Year?

Red envelopes filled with money are the traditional gifts given during Chinese New Year. These envelopes are usually given from parents or grandparents to kids. Many gifts are considered taboo, so it’s best to stick with the colors red, yellow, and gold.

What determines the start of the Chinese New Year?

The first day of Chinese New Year is known as Yuan Dan, and falls on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

Why does Chinese New Year use red as a color symbol?

The color red is used during Chinese New Year because it symbolizes good luck. The color red corresponds with fire, which is used to ward off evil spirits.

How is the Lion Dance significant to Chinese New Year?

The lion dance is performed on special occasions, including the Lantern Festival during Chinese New Year celebrations. In ancient times, the lion was considered a mythical creature because there were no real lions seen in China. The dance is performed to pray for good luck.

Are there any foods to avoid during Chinese New Year celebrations?

Many foods eaten during Chinese New Year celebrations are considered lucky because of their pronunciation or appearance resembling a symbol of luck. Fresh bean curd or tofu, however, is considered unlucky because it is white, which is a color that signifies death and misfortune.

What dining etiquette tips do you need to follow during Chinese New Year?

When attending a family dinner during Chinese New Year, it’s important to follow proper dining etiquette. For example, don’t stick chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice because it symbolizes death and bad luck. Also, eat with your mouth closed, don’t start eating before the host, and serve someone else first before serving yourself.