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What is Chinese Lunar New Year? Symbolism, Celebrations and All You Need to Know

Feb 9, 2024, 05:52 PM IST

What is Chinese Lunar New Year? Symbolism, Celebrations and All You Need to Know

Riya Teotia

What is Chinese Lunar New Year?

Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or simply Chinese New Year, is a significant traditional holiday celebrated by Chinese communities around the world. As per the Chinese zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. The Chinese New Year will fall on Feb 10 this year and end on Feb 24.

Date and Duration

Chinese Lunar New Year follows the lunar calendar and typically falls between late January and mid-February. The festival lasts for 15 days, with celebrations ending on the 15th day, known as the Lantern Festival.

Symbolism

Each Chinese New Year is associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. The year is named after the animal sign, rotating in a 12-year cycle. These animals include the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Traditions and Customs

Various traditions and customs are observed during Chinese New Year, including cleaning and decorating homes to welcome good luck, giving red envelopes (hongbao) containing money to children and unmarried adults, and sharing symbolic foods such as dumplings and fish.

Fireworks and Firecrackers

Fireworks and firecrackers are an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations. They are believed to scare away evil spirits and bad luck, while also symbolising joy and prosperity.

Lunar New Year's Eve Dinner

The Lunar New Year's Eve dinner, known as "reunion dinner" or "big dinner," is a significant event where families gather to enjoy a lavish meal together. Traditional dishes served during this dinner often carry symbolic meanings associated with luck, prosperity, and longevity.

Spring Festival Gala

The Spring Festival Gala, also known as the Chunwan, is a televised variety show broadcast on Chinese New Year's Eve. It features a mix of traditional and contemporary performances, including music, dance, and acrobatics, which is watched by millions of people across China.

Global Celebrations

Chinese New Year is celebrated not only in China but also in various countries and regions with significant Chinese populations, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Chinatowns around the world.

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