Happy Chinese New Year!


Zaynab Rehman

Chinese New Year is a time of celebration for millions of families around the globe.

Anna Meng

On February 1st, 2022, the most important and exciting holiday in China will take place: the Chinese New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival, this celebration commemorates the new year on the lunar calendar. There are so many details that revolve around Chinese New Years, so let’s take a look at the culture and traditions of this major holiday celebrated by millions of people. 

One special feature of Chinese New Year is that the date of the celebration changes every year. Unlike our normal New Year’s Day, the 15-day celebration follows the lunar calendar. Every time the moon spins around the earth (29-30 days), that’ll be one month; a lunar year will be 12-13 full moon rotations. In the olden days, the ancient Chinese population did not mark each year with numbers; rather, they marked it with the 12 zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. 2022 is the year of the tiger; since there are twelve animals, in twelve years time, it’ll be the year of the tiger once again.

The Chinese New Year holiday spirit emerges days before the actual first day of the event. Families begin by decorating their homes with red banners on the doors and windows, wishing for good luck. A few days before Chinese New Year’s Day, families clean their houses for guests. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, families and friends gather together to make dumplings and other traditional Chinese foods. Then at night, everyone sits around the family TV to watch the Chinese New Year’s Gala, which showcases extravagant performances. After the Gala, everyone will stay up until midnight to welcome the new year together with fireworks. 

On the actual New Year’s Day, people will greet relatives and visit the graves of their ancestors. When visiting relatives, adults will often give children red envelopes filled with money. The next 14 days are filled with various festivities. The long but short festival ends with the Lantern Festival. Families will eat TangYuan: boiled glutinous rice flour balls filled with sweet or savory fillings, which vary by region. It is during the Lantern Festival when the notorious dragon dances are performed. 

The key purposes of Chinese New Year celebration are to be lucky and to stay healthy. During the 16 days, the color red is found everywhere. People will wear red and decorate their houses in red, symbolizing good fortune and joy.

The Chinese New Year is an extremely exciting and meaningful time in Chinese culture. So in February, the month of the celebration, take note of the small changes made by the holiday. Maybe wear red on Chinese New Year’s Day to show the spirit! Happy Chinese New Year!