Everything you need to know about Chinese New Year

About a sixth of the world celebrate the Lunar New Year – commonly referred to as the Chinese New Year. The traditional Chinese holiday goes beyond China’s borders and is celebrated in Asian countries and communities around the globe.


People are gearing up for the 2-week celebration of the Chinese New Year. It begins this Saturday, January 28th. If you’ve ever wondered how it’s celebrated, then look no further! We’ll be covering the basics of the holiday.

What is Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year, also known as “Spring Festival”,  is China’s longest national holiday that celebrates the turn of a new year based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. Unlike the standard Gregorian Calendar – you know the one that calculates a year based on Earth’s orbit around the sun – the lunar calendar is based on phases of the moon. Under the lunar cycle,  the beginning of a month is marked by a new moon, and usually lasts around 29 ½ days. Therefore, the Chinese New Year happens when the second new moon after winter solstice occurs – meaning it changes every year. This year, Chinese New Year falls on Saturday, January 28th.

How is it celebrated?

2017 festivities will begin on January 27th (New Year’s Eve) and will continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

In China, millions of people migrate home to be with friends and family. Celebrations take place in the form of reunions, elaborate dinners, parades, and dragon dances.

The color red is considered essential during the festival, as it is believed to bring good fortune. From red clothing to red lanterns displayed on the streets, the color red is seen everywhere. Children are traditionally given money inside red envelopes that is said to bring them good fortune and happiness. On the final day, Day 15 (the Lantern Festival), red Chinese lanterns are released into the sky.

As previously mentioned, the Spring Festival is celebrated in many places beyond China like Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. Cities outside of Asia, like San Francisco and London, also host large celebrations.

Why is 2017 being referred to as the year of the rooster?

Each year is represented by a different animal from the Chinese 12-year zodiac – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

2017 is the year of the rooster, the tenth Chinese zodiac, and decorations related to roosters will be commonly seen. Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029. Roosters are often characterized as intelligent, hardworking, energetic and confident people.

Your Chinese Zodiac sign is derived from your birth year based off of the Chinese lunar calendar. To calculate your Chinese zodiac click here.

If you want to partake in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, Houstonia listed some great events happening in the Houston area!