Chinese New Year 2024

Chinese New Year 2024

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival (春节 Chūn Jié), is a joyous and peaceful festival for family reunions. People who have left home want to come back before Chinese New Year’s Eve. Thus transportation during the Spring Festival Period is considered to be the largest annual migration. It is very difficult to buy train and flight tickets in this period.

Chinese New Year InfographicChinese New Year Infographic

When is Chinese New Year in 2024?

On Saturday, February 10th, 2024. Get ready for a vibrant display of culture and tradition.

Basic Facts
  • Chinese: 春节 chūn jié
  • History: The origin of Chinese New Year is unclear, although it may have started as the ceremony of praying for a good year. This Festival is supposed to have been initiated in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046BCE).
  • When is Chinese New Year: The first day of the first lunar month.
  • Holiday: 7 days (From New Year’s Eve to 6th of the 1st lunar month). See more on China Public Holiday Calendar
  • Popular Food: Dumplings, glutinous rice cakes, fish, cured meat, melon seeds, candy and tangyuan or yuanxiao.
  • Celebrations: Worship the Stove God, Purchases for the New Year, Enjoy a Reunion Dinner, Burn Firecrackers and Fireworks, Dragon and Lion Dances.
  • Legends: The Story of a monster called “Nian”.

Why Chinese New Year called Spring Festival?

In ancient times, the first day of the lunar calendar was referred to as "Yuandan" (New Year's Day) 元旦 (Pinyin: yuán dàn). However, after the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat-sen once proposed: "Use the solar calendar for easy record-keeping of agricultural activities and convenient statistics." On January 1, 1912, China began using the Gregorian calendar, considering January 1 as the start of the new year. Since then, the lunar New Year's Day is no longer regarded as the beginning of the new year. Because the solar term "Lichun" conveniently falls around the lunar New Year, and to distinguish it from the global Gregorian New Year, people began commonly referring to the lunar New Year as the Spring Festival.

On the eve of the establishment of the People's Republic of China, on September 27, 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference decided to adopt the universally recognized Common Era for calendrical purposes. To differentiate between Yangli (Gregorian calendar) 阳历 (Traditional Chinese: 陽歷 | Pinyin: yánglì) and Yangli 阴历 (Traditional Chinese: 陰歷 | Pinyin: yīn lì) or Nongli (Lunar calendar) 农历 (Traditional Chinese: 農歷 | Pinyin: nóng lì), January 1 of the Gregorian calendar was designated as "New Year's Day," while the lunar New Year's Day was officially renamed "Spring Festival." Since then, the term "Spring Festival" has become the formal name for this traditional Chinese holiday and continues to be celebrated to this day.

Why does the Date of Chinese New Year Change?

January 1st on the Gregorian calendar is New Year’s Day in most countries of the world. The first day of the first lunar month is the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). Unlike the internationally-used Gregorian calendar, which is solely solar-based, the Chinese calendar blends both lunar and solar cycles. This unique system results in the date of Chinese New Year shifting annually, typically falling between January 20th and February 20th.

Can Chinese New Year Holiday be in March?

The mentioned method of New Year's reckoning, based on the Chinese lunar calendar, places the latest possible date for the Chinese New Year's day around February 20th. Generally, the New Year holiday spans approximately 7 days, from the first to the seventh day of the lunar calendar. Given that February has either 28 or 29 days, with an extra day in leap years, the Chinese New Year holiday is unlikely to extend into March.

However, if the Chinese New Year holiday spans 10 days or more, it is indeed plausible for the holiday to extend into March. This pertains specifically to public holidays and does not encompass individual or private holidays. If additional days, such as family visitation leave or annual leave, are taken into account, the holiday period could become quite extensive.

Chinese New Year Dates in 2024, 2025, 2026...

Year Date of Spring Festival Weekday Zodiac Sign
2023 January 22 Sunday Rabbit
2024 February 10 Saturday Dragon
2025 January 29 Wednesday Snake
2026 February 17 Tuesday Horse
2027 February 6 Saturday Sheep
2028 January 26 Wednesday Monkey
2029 February 13 Tuesday Rooster
2030 February 3 Sunday Dog
2031 January 23 Thursday Pig
2032 February 11 Wednesday Rat
2033 January 31 Monday Ox
2034 February 19 Sunday Tiger

Why is Chinese New Year Important?

Why is Chinese New Year Important
Infography: Why Chinese New Year is important to the Chinese people

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), is one of the most important traditional festivals in China. It holds a special place in the hearts of the Chinese people, representing essential aspects of their traditional culture and spiritual beliefs.

1. Historical Tradition and Cultural Heritage

The Spring Festival has a rich history spanning thousands of years. The legend of the origin of the "Nian" expresses the people's aspirations for dispelling evil, avoiding disasters, and seeking happiness and well-being in the coming year. Influenced by the cultural concepts of "fortune" and "misfortune," the Chinese people pay special attention to seeking good fortune and avoiding misfortune at the key points of the yearly transition.

On the one hand, they take the initiative to hold various ceremonial prayers and blessing activities, hoping that the new year will have a good start, good results, and actively do things that have good omens; on the other hand, they actively avoid evil, not only to avoid bad things, but also to constrain their own words and deeds.

For the Chinese, the Chinese new year represents new beginnings and hope.

2. Family Reunion

Evolving into a family-centric tradition, the Spring Festival has become a time for Chinese people to reconnect with their roots, cherish family ties, and express emotions. Regardless of their current location, people strive to return home during the festival, returning to one's eagerly missed and longed-for relatives can calm or relax the restless heart. This reunion is crucial for maintaining family relationships and deepening bonds.

Therefore, influenced by the culture centered around the family, Chinese people particularly value the Spring Festival as an opportunity for familial communication.

3. Social Activities

The Spring Festival is a time for social interactions. People exchange greetings, give red envelopes, gather for meals, and participate in various celebratory events. These activities contribute to strengthening social connections and fostering friendships.

What is the Chinese Zodiac Animal for the Year 2024?

The vibrant celebration of Chinese New Year in 2024 heralds the arrival of the spirited Wood Dragon, kicking off on February 10th, 2024, and dancing through until January 28th, 2025.

You may be interested in what is your zodiac sign?

Why Chinese People say 2024 Dragon Year is a WUCHUN Year?

The year 2024 is a very special year in the Chinese lunar calendar, called a wuchun year 无春年 (Traditional Chinese: 無春年 | Pinyin: wú chūn nián). A wuchun year is a year that does not have the Lichun solar term 立春 (Pinyin: lìchūn). The Lichun solar term marks the beginning of spring.

To keep the Chinese lunar calendar in sync with the solar calendar, the lunar calendar has leap months every two to three years. This means that a leap year has 13 months. The Lichun solar term is a fixed point in the solar calendar, but because of leap months, the corresponding lunar date of Lichun varies greatly from year to year. Some lunar years have two Lichun solar terms, some have only one, and some have none. For example, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021, 2024, 2026 are all Wuchun years.

How Long is Chinese New Year? And What Activities can Chinese do during Chinese New Year?

The traditional observance of Chinese New Year spans a period of 16 days, commencing from Chinese New Year's Eve and concluding with the Lantern Festival.

The 3 most important days are Chinese New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year's Day and Lantern Festival.

Chinese New Year Begins - Chinese New Year's Eve - Chuxi 除夕(Pinyin: chúxī) or Da Nian San Shi 大年三十 (Pinyin: dà nián sān shí)

New Year Eve dinner

The day before Chinese New Year is the Lunar New Year’s Eve, namely Chuxi. People in northern China like eating dumplings, and in the south of China, they prefer eating glutinous rice cakes.The whole family stays up late into the night to wait for the clock to strike 12. After that, every household in rural areas sets off firecrackers, while those who live in the cities can only set off firecrackers in the designated places for environmental protection.

See more information about Chinese New Year Eve’s Dinner - Nian Ye Fan

Chinese New Year's Day - Da Nian Chu Yi 大年初一 (Pinyin: dà nián chū yī)

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, men and women, elders and children, get dressed up for the festival. Paying everyone a New Year’s greeting, and visiting relatives and friends are the important activities on the day.

There are no other traditional festivals which are more significant than Chinese New Year with its time-honored history and rich social civilization. There are a series of ceremonies in this long holiday of celebration, in which traditional Chinese nationality and folk culture are observed. In its historical development, Chinese New Year is not a simple festival, but ties in with Chinese people’s everlasting emotion and cultural identity. It is the perfect occasion to taste the fruit of happiness.

Chinese New Year Ends: the 15th day of Lunar January - the Lantern Festival (元宵 yuán xiāo)

Chinese New Year typically lasts for 15 days, concluding with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month. So, the festivities are considered officially over after the Lantern Festival.

Each day of Spring Festival: Title and Activities

During the Spring Festival, each day has a special name and activities. The table below offers a brief introduction.

2024 Lunar Date We refer to it as... Activities
February 9th Lunar December 30th (大年三十 dà nián sān shí) New Year's Eve
Chuxi (除夕 chú xì)
Worshipping gods and ancestors, making dumplings, having a big family dinner, and staying up late on Chinese New Year's Eve.
February 10th Lunar January 1st (正月初一 zhèng yuè chū yī | 大年初一 dà nián chū yī) Chinese New Year's Day
Sanyuan Day (三元日 sān yuán rì)
Chicken Day (鸡日 | 雞日 jī rì )
Wishing each other a happy new year, receiving lucky money, and enjoying activities like playing mahjong.
February 11th Lunar January 2nd (正月初二 zhèng yuè chū èr) Dog Day (狗日 gǒu rì)
Day of the Rice Goddess (米娘娘日 mǐ niáng niáng rì)
Money God Worship Day (祭财神日 jì cái shén rì)
Son-in-law Welcoming Day (迎婿日 yíng xù rì )
Welcoming the God of Wealth and visiting the maternal family
February 12th Lunar January 3rd (正月初三 zhèng yuè chū sān) Pig Day (猪日 zhū rì) Typically staying at home, not hosting guests, and relaxing with family. If there are many relatives, there might be visits to their homes for New Year's greetings.
February 13th Lunar January 4th (正月初四 zhèng yuè chū sì) Sheep Day (羊日 yáng rì)
Welcoming the Kitchen God Day (迎灶神日 yíng zào shén rì)
Visiting relatives and friends. Around 4 p.m. in the afternoon, prepare offerings of fruits and vegetables, light incense, burn gold paper, and set off firecrackers to welcome the Kitchen God.
February 14th Lunar January 5th (正月初五 zhèng yuè chū wǔ) Ox Day (牛日 yáng rì)
God of Wealth's Birthday (财神生日 | 財神生日 cái shén shēng rì)
Powu Festival (破五节 pò wǔ jiē)
Setting off firecrackers, cleaning, and welcoming the God of Wealth.
February 15th Lunar January 6th (正月初六 zhèng yuè chū liù) Horse Day (马日 mǎ rì)
Opening Day for Business (开市日 kāi shì rì)
Day of Dispelling Poverty (送穷日 | 送窮日 sòng qióng rì )
Going on a trip and opening for business
February 16th Lunar January 7th (正月初七 zhèng yuè chū qī) Human Day (人日 rén rì) Eating noodles, going out for fun, seeking blessings, and ascending heights for a distant view.
February 17th Lunar January 8th (正月初八 zhèng yuè chū bā) Shunxing Festival (顺星节|順星節 shùn xīng jiē)
Day of the Grain (谷日 gǔ rì)
Praying for blessings, and the company officially resumes work and opens for business. Most people go back to work.
February 18th Lunar January 9th (正月初九 zhèng yuè chū jiǔ) Birthday of the Jade Emperor (天诞日|天誕日 tiān dàn rì , 上九日 shàng jiǔ rì , 天日 tiān rì) A day for blessings and auspicious activities, such as going out for errands.
February 19th Lunar January 10th (正月初十 zhèng yuè chū shí) Stone's birthday (石日 shí rì) In Yangjiang, Guangdong, there is a tradition called 'Kaideng'.
February 20th Lunar January 11th (正月十一 zhèng yuè shí yī) Son-in-Law Day (子婿日 zǐ xù rì)

Father-in-law's Banquet for the Son-in-law.

In Majie, Fengxian County, Henan, every year during the 11th day of the lunar new year, the "Majie Shu Hui 马街书会|馬街書會 mǎ jiē shū huì" is held. The Majie Shu Hui is a grand gathering of Chinese folk traditional arts and is recognized as one of the national-level intangible cultural heritages.

February 21th Lunar January 12th (正月十二 zhèng yuè shí èr) Yunkai Jie (云开节 yún kāi jiē) On the twelfth day of the lunar new year, it is the last day for relatives and friends to reciprocate with feasts and toasts. "Yunkai" signifies the dispersal of festive banquets. Additionally, with the Lantern Festival approaching, preparations for the Lantern Festival celebrations are underway.
February 22th Lunar January 13th (正月十三 zhèng yuè shí sān) Lantern Testing Day (试灯|試燈日 shì dēng rì) On this day, people test all the lanterns used for the Lantern Festival. Additionally, coastal fishermen consider the 13th day of the lunar new year as the birthday of the Sea Dragon King. On this day, they perform rituals to the sea and then prepare to start working and go fishing.
February 23th Lunar January 14th (正月十四 zhèng yuè shí sì) Birthday of the Linshui Goddess (临|臨水娘娘生日 lín shuǐ niáng niáng shēng rì ) Many places host Miaohui (庙会|廟會 miào huì, which are unique traditional folk cultural events in China that combine eating, drinking, and entertainment.
February 24th Lunar January 15th (正月十五 zhèng yuè shí wǔ) Lantern Festival (元宵 yuán xiāo) Eating tangyuan or yuanxiao, enjoying lantern displays, solving lantern riddles, dragon dancing, and lion dancing.

What are the activities before Chinese New Year?

2024 Lunar Date We refer to it as... Activities
February 2nd Lunar December 23rd (腊|臘月二十三 là yuè èr shí sān) Xiaonian in northern China (北方小年 běi fāng xiǎo nián)
Kitchen God Festival (灶王节 zào wáng jiē)
Worshipping the Kitchen God, cleaning the house, and eating dumplings.
February 3rd Lunar December 24th (腊|臘月二十四 là yuè èr shí sì) Xiaonan in Southern China (南方小年 nán fāng xiǎo nián)
Cleaning Day (扫尘日|掃塵日 sǎo chén rì)
Year-end deep cleaning, eating tangyuan.
February 4th Lunar December 25th (腊|臘月二十五 là yuè èr shí wǔ) Welcoming the Jade Emperor (接玉帝 jiē yù dì) Chinese saying:"On the 25th day of the twelfth lunar month, grind the mill to make tofu."
February 5th Lunar December 26th (腊|臘月二十六 là yuè èr shí liù) Chinese saying:"On the 26th day of the twelfth lunar month, cut New Year's meat" Preparing festive meats, taking a bath, and getting a haircut for the upcoming New Year celebration.
February 6th Lunar December 27th (腊|臘月二十七 là yuè èr shí qī) Preparing New Year snacks and items, such as firecrackers, Spring Festival couplets, new clothes, etc., taking a bath, and getting a haircut.
February 7th Lunar December 28th (腊|臘月二十八 là yuè èr shí bā) Making steamed buns, dumplings, pounding rice cakes, hanging lanterns and streamers, and putting up window flowers.
February 8th Lunar December 29th (腊|臘月二十九 là yuè èr shí jiǔ) Little New Year's Eve (小除夕 xiǎo chú xī) New Year preparations, as well as activities involving the worship of Yue Fei, are observed in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces.

See more Customs of Chinese New Year

Social Impact of Chinese New Year

Spring Festival Economy

The Spring Festival is not only a traditional festival, but also a holiday to promote domestic consumption and boost the economy. It sparks consumer demand exceeding material requirement, and helps industries including those that involve culture, commerce, tourism, transportation, catering, entertainment and other fields. With the development of modern network technology, giving envelopes online by Alipay or WeChat is also greatly popular.

Spring Festival Travel Rush (春运 Chun Yun)

This is a peak time for passenger transportation. During a 40-day travel period, there are multiple flows, such as students, migrant workers, family visitors, in numbers which amount to no less than 2 billion people, or about 1/3 of the population of the world. The Spring Festival rush has been listed as the world’s largest cyclical peak in the world records.

Watch the video to find out How to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Despite the fast-paced changes in contemporary times, the essence of the Spring Festival remains rooted in its warm and people-centric aspects. Regardless of external transformations, the journey home and the joy of reunion remain constants. The festive spirit resides within the hearts of each individual.

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