Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year)
The Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.
The first day of the Chinese New Year is the new moon that appears between 21st January and 20th February. This year in 2023 the first day of Chinese New Year is on 22nd January. According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, the year 2023 is the year of the Rabbit.
Celebrations of Chinese New Year traditionally last for 16 days, starting from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival. The first 7 days are a public holiday, from January 21st to January 27th in 2023.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong (officially as Lunar New Year), Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mauritius, and the Philippines. Losar is the Tibetan word for “new year”. The Losar is also celebrated in Nepal and India as well, where there is a strong concentration of the Buddhist population in the states like Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal, and Ladakh in Kashmir.
Customs and Traditions
The customs and traditions followed during the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner.
It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.
The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of the Chinese New Year. The calendar is also used in countries that have been influenced by or have relations with, China – such as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.