Chinese New Year – January 25, 2020

Sat Jan 25

What is Chinese New Year?

If you feel the ground trembling beneath your feet on January 25 — don’t fear! It’s simply the beginning of the Chinese New Year. You’ll find a full 20% of the Earth’s population celebrating — using more fireworks than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration marked by good food, red envelopes, and blessings for everyone.

History of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and and February 20. It’s a major holiday in Greater China and has strongly influenced lunar new year celebrations of China’s neighboring cultures, including the Korean New Year, the Tết of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet. It is also celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Chinese populations, like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, North America, and Europe.
 
In 1928, the Kuomintang party decreed that Chinese New Year will fall on the first of January, following the Gregorian Calendar, but this was abandoned due to overwhelming opposition from the populace. In 1967 during the Cultural Revolution, official Chinese New Year celebrations were banned in China. The State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced that the public should change customs, have a revolutionized and fighting Spring Festival, and since people needed to work on Chinese New Year Eve, they did not have holidays during Spring Festival day. The public celebrations were reinstated by the time of the Chinese economic reform. 
 
The festival was traditionally a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.

Chinese New Year timeline

January 25 2020
Year of the Rat

This Chinese New Year will welcome the Year of the Rat, associated this year with the element metal. 

1967
Cultural Revolution

Chinese New Year celebrations were banned in an attempt to westernize Chinese culture.

1928
The Kuomintang Party 

Wanting China to celebrate New Year the same day as other cultures, the Kuomintang Party attempted to move Chinese New Year to January 1. 

1766 BCE - 1122 BCE
The Shang Dynasty 

Though it's not completely clear when exactly Chinese New Year celebrations began, it is said to have originated from the year end religious ceremony observed during the Shang Dynasty.

Chinese New Year Statistics

20% of the global population celebrates
The world’s population by the 2020 Chinese New Year will be around 7.7 billion people. Of those people, 2 billion will be celebrating Chinese New Year. In mainland China alone, there are about 1.41 billion people and in Hong Kong there are 7 million people. And if you add up the rest of the Chinese population living in other parts of Asia, America, and Europe, it’s easy to see how that 2 billion number will be fulfilled. 
 
8 billion red envelopes
It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without a red envelope to pass out to children and single young relatives. Every year, about 8 billion red envelopes make their rounds throughout Chinese families world wide. Each envelope contains either an even number of cash or chocolate coins, which both symbolize good fortune and wealth for the new year. 
 
40 Days of celebration
Technically, the Spring Festival is 15 days, but celebrations start on New Year’s eve making it 16. However, you can also say that the holiday season starts in lunar December with the Laba Festival, making it 40 days of celebration. Traditionally, you have to spend time with your family and can only go out after the fifth day. It’s a national holiday meaning the large majority of stores are all closed, so the month before, people will buy nian huo, or New Year’s products. The Chinese stock up on cooking supplies, snacks, gifts, new clothes, and whatever else they might need to bring in the new year.

Chinese New Year FAQs

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

The Spring Festival, Chinese New Year, is celebrated with lots of food, the color red, and honoring ancestors. 
 

Why is the Chinese New Year different?

Chinese New Year is a lunar holiday, meaning it’s celebrated at the start of a new moon rather than the beginning of the Gregorian calendar.
 

What was the animal for Chinese New Year 2019? 

The 2019 Chinese New Year welcomed the Year of the Earth Pig on February 5. 
 

Chinese New Year Activities

  1. Remember your ancestors

    Amid all the celebrations, it's easy to forget that Chinese New Year is really a holiday for the whole family — children and elders alike. Take a moment to appreciate those you love most.

  2. Eat and be merry

    First, consider all the dim sum delights that await for Chinese New Year. Then, remember to enjoy the fireworks, parades, and general merriment. Chinese New Year focuses on creating good luck for the year to come. Take time to enjoy yourself and others around you.

  3. Share the traditional red envelopes

    The red symbolizes good luck. The monetary gifts are meant to bring the recipient good fortune. Just make sure to gift cash in even numbers and do not have the number four in the amount.

Why We Love Chinese New Year

  1. It's red for a reason

    Red is an auspicious color for the Chinese New Year, denoting prosperity and energy — which ward off evil spirits and negativity. Red lanterns, envelopes, and firecrackers make everything festive during the winter months.

  2. New Year's (Eve) feasting

    What is a celebration without feasting with friends and family? Chinese New Year's Eve dinner is one of the most important occasions of the year — celebrated with long noodles, trays of food (naturally), and sweet, plump oranges to spread the wealth.

  3. No chores

    Good luck is at its peak in the New Year. You don't want to sweep it away, do you? Take a breather from vacuuming and mopping, and go get your dumpling on! (If you must clean, make sure it's taken care of beforehand.)

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.

#ChineseNewYear #LunarNewYear #SpringFestival