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Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year begins tomorrow, Saturday, February 10th and ends on the 16th. Celebrations last up to 16 days, but only the first 7 days are considered a public holiday.

Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities, among others.

The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival . It is the most solemn festival of the year for every Chinese and has been celebrated in China for thousands of years, with various forms of activities among the diverse regions of China.

red and gold dragon Chinese new year

Each year in the Chinese Lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals included in the cycle of 12 stations or “signs” along the apparent path of the sun through the cosmos.

The 12 zodiac animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In addition to the animals, five elements of earth, water, fire, wood and metal are also mapped onto the traditional lunar calendar.

Each year is associated with an animal that corresponds to an element. The year 2024 is slated to be the year of the dragon. The year of the dragon last came up in 2012.

The Chinese New Year celebration is centered around removing the bad and the old, and welcoming the new and the good.

It’s a time to worship ancestors, drive out evil spirits and pray for good harvest.

Today it’s celebrated also by Chinese communities outside the country. Lion dance, dragon dance, temple fairs, flower market shopping and so on are just a few of these rich and colorful activities.

Red background Gold text saying "Happy Chinese New Year"

Why do people have Lion and Dragon dances on Chinese New Year?

Traditionally if anyone happened to see any of the ‘Lucky Mascots’ on New Year’s Day, they’d be very lucky for the year to come.

The four ‘Lucky Mascots’ are Dragon, Phoenix, Unicorn and Dragon Turtle. They are fictional animals either living in the sea or flying in the sky.

This explains why people perform Lion and Dragon dances to celebrate the New Year.