Chinese New Year is the main
Chinese festival of the year. As the
Chinese use the Lunar calendar for
their festivals the date of Chinese
New Year changes from year to
year. The date corresponds to the
new moon (black moon) in either
late January or February.
Traditionally celebrations last for
fifteen days, ending on the date of
the full moon
The Year of the Horse is coming
• The Chinese New Year of the Horse will be
on 31 January 2014
• Until then, it is still the Year of the Snake
which began on 10 February 2013.
Chinese New Year Decorations
• Chinese New Year is a time when families get together to celebrate. It
is also a special time to remember members of the family who have
died. In the days coming up to New Year every family buys presents,
decorations, food, new clothes and people have their hair cut. Houses
are cleaned from top to bottom. The aim is to sweep out any bad luck
from the old year and clear the way for good luck. However, it is bad
luck to clean on New Years Day itself.
• On New Years Eve decorations made from red and gold paper are
hung down the doors to bring good luck.
• The decorations are marked with messages of good fortune
such as happiness, prosperity and long life, known as Spring
Couplets. These mostly have four Chinese characters
• The color red is chosen for two reasons. The first is because
red is a lucky color and the second because it is supposed to
frighten off the monster Nian who is thought to come on
New Years Eve. The color gold represents wealth.
Chinese New Year Family Celebrations
• Everyone comes together for dinner which is a feast. A popular food is
‘jiaozi’ which are dumplings boiled in water. These dumplings are
prepared on New Years Eve and served right after midnight with
garlic-soy sauce. A coin is often hidden in one of them. It is thought to
be lucky to be the person who finds the coin. The dumplings are
shaped like gold and silver bars in the hope that they will bring good
luck and good fortune. It is believed that the spirits of the family’s
ancestors are also at the meal and food is prepared for them.
• After dinner the family sit up playing card games or board games such
as Chinese chess. Every light is supposed to be kept on until midnight
when there are fireworks and firecrackers which are meant to scare off
• Early on New Years Day children receive lucky red packets called ‘Hong
Bao’ containing sweets or money. Chinese children love these.They are
usually given them by their parents or grandparents, but it is
considered rude to open the envelopes in front of the person who has
During Chinese New Year,People greet each other by
saying 'Kung Hei Fat Choy!', which means Happy New
The Lantern Festival
• The celebrations end on the fifteenth day with ‘The Festival of
Lanterns’. Everywhere is decorated with lanterns of different sizes and
in the streets there is music and dancing.
• Children go out in the streets at night with lanterns and people paste
riddles onto lanterns so that visitors can guess the answers.
• The making of lanterns in China is a tradition which goes back 500
years. Red lanterns are thought of as lucky.