The Chinese New Year is a fun and memorable time. Many unique details make this holiday stand out, one of which is that it is different every year. Certain traditions and practices never change from year to year. However, much of the beliefs about the new year are based on cyclical details, such as the animal sign that is relevant that year. 

How much do you actually know about the Chinese New Year? We’ve put together six interesting facts that you might not know. Use these facts to learn new things or perhaps test your knowledge of this celebration. Find out more below! 

1. Every Year is a New Animal

The Chinese calendar is not the same as the traditional calendar that many use. While the dates don’t vary, the details behind the dates do. The Chinese are known for their animal zodiac signs. There are 12 animals, and every year, the calendar varies based on these animal signs. In 2024, the year will be the year of the dragon. The dragon is symbolic of things like honor, luck, success, power, and more. 

You can see fun games and graphics that go along with the dragon theme at sites like these that integrate themes for your playtime. For 2024, the Chinese New Year starts in February and will run until the end of the following January. The last year of the dragon was in 2012. It’s a great year to strive for success! 

2. The Date Always Changes

In many parts of the world, we celebrate the new year on December 31st and January 1st. Technically speaking, the calendar changes from one year to the next on this date. However, in terms of the Chinese New Year, this is not the case. And unless you understand their calendar, then it can be confusing. What you should know is that the new year falls on a different day every year, and that date is based on the new moon in a certain timeframe. It ranges from the end of January to early February, according to the traditional calendar. 

3. Gifts to the Children

Every year at Chinese New Year, the children are given money. This money is handed out in special red envelopes that are symbolic of the new year. And it’s not just any sum of money. The rules for the gifting amount are that it can’t have the number four in it, and it can’t be divisible by four, either. The children are given their red envelopes of money and allowed to spend that money in whatever way they please. 

4. Spring Cleaning! 

The Chinese New Year is preparing to welcome spring and is often accompanied by a spring festival that lasts for 15 days. Before the celebrations begin, people throughout China spend time doing a deep cleaning of their homes and spaces so that they can usher in the new year on a clean note. The idea of this deep spring cleaning is to clean out bad luck that may have lingered from the old year.  

5. 16 Days of Celebration

Where most locations celebrate the new year for just one night and day, that’s not the way it works here. The Chinese New Year is loaded with celebration. The celebrations include parades, fireworks, dances, and so much more. It’s a full 16 days long and often referred to as the spring festival. There are traditional celebrations every night, ending with the infamous Lantern Festival. 

The Lantern Festival is the end of the celebration. On this night, families hang lanterns, set them afloat in rivers, and release them into the sky. 

6. What to Eat?

Did you know that only certain foods are eaten during the Chinese New Year? Foods are chosen based on their symbolism. They eat auspicious foods, and every food has a reason. One of the top choices is dumplings, as they are reminiscent of wealth. Another choice is fish because fish translates to a surplus. Other choices included things like oranges or tangerines, which are thought to bring good luck. 

Final Thoughts

Many fun and unique traditions are part of the Chinese New Year. More than two billion people celebrate this holiday every year, and many other locations have started to host small celebrations in honor of the day. With 2024 just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for the year of the dragon. If the qualities of the dragon ring true in the coming year, we should see positive changes reflective of luck, success, and honor. 

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Festivities, Other,

Last Update: October 30, 2023