Chinese (Lunar) New Year - is the most important and long-awaited holiday for Chinese people and people living in South East Asia.
That is the holiday, when all the family gather together, and start the preparation some weeks before.
Spring Festival (Chunjie 春节) - is local name of this holiday, it’s origin has an old and interesting legend.
Before the day, when New Year comes, a monster Nian (年, nián — year) appeared on the Earth. It came from the darkness, it was so terrible, that even flowers and tree leaves died seeing Nian. The monster struggled with the Spring and did not want to let it start. Nian killed village people, grubbed all the rice and cattle.
But most of all these monster liked to eat little kids.
Farmers tried to save the kids, and molified monster Nian with food and some presents.
Once the farmers noticed that the monster was afraid of a kid, wearing red clothes.
Since that time they used a lot of red colored clothes, decorations (lanterns, door signs). To frighten the monster farmers also squibed fireworks and petards.
Thus, Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) became a rumbustious and bright holiday.
Chinese New year is always a family holiday - all the members come to parent’s house, make decorations, clean the house, cook traditional food (e.g. niangao, dumplings «jiaozi», fish courses. Grandparents, parents and children share their thoughts about passing and new, coming year, give presents to each other.
How to find out the date of Chinese (Lunar) New Year.
Chinese New Year is the most long-lasting and important holiday in Chinese Lunar calendar and Asian culture.
Lunar calendar has 5 elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and 12 animals (rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig).
The complete cycle of the calendar is 60 years.
The date of the New Year is considered to be the second new moon, after winter solstice (21-22 December), and this new moon supposed to be in the period between 21 January - 20 February.
The exact dates of Chinese (Lunar) New Year (2015-2025):
Date of New Year
Wood (turquoise, green)
Water (black, blue)
Water (black, blue)
Wood (turquoise, green)
Wood (turquoise, green)
Organization of Spring festival and the celebration.
In China people need a lot of time to organize the celebration of the Lunar New Year, some families start the preparations weeks before, others - several month in advance - you should express gratitude to relatives, friends, colleagues. In the very beginning of every year Chinese may start save money for the biggest celebration - to buy a ticket to the home town, buy presents, save money for a hearty New Year dinner.
New Year, like in other cultures, means the start of new life, that is why people like to buy new clothes, home appliances, furniture. Stores offer sales and discounts, and Chinese people who are very thrifty, buy a lot of worthy goods.
Often they wait for promotions to buy expensive items, and if a family plans to buy a car, they will definitely do it on Cninese New Year sales.
The gifts for Chinese New Year are very useful and practicable - that could be tasty sets of nuts, traditional sweets, dried fruits. Another popular gift - 红包 (hongbao). That is a red envelope with money. Another traditional gift is rice cookie niangao 年糕. On the day before New Year, Chinese will have traditional dinner, where you may see all the kinds of courses, that means prosperity and wealth for the family.
There is no New Year tree, but there is tangerine tree, decorated with red bands.
Another tradition of New Year Eve - making dumplings. Children, parents and grandparents - everybody helps to make dumplings jiaozi. That is quite long process and people, who usually come to the hometown once a year, tell parents about their life, work, or education in the other city.
That is always great time for the parents, because children may bring to the family a fiance, that is best time for Chinese people to make weddings and start new family life.
A new couple will have long holidays to meet all the relatives and make a wedding celebration, and also it is believed that Chinese New Year is favorable period for wedding.
The Great Moving, Chunyun (春运).
Most of Chinese people move to another city or town after they graduate school - to go to college or apply for better job. That is seldom, when a person stay to live in the same place he was born. That is why one of the Chinese greetings - where are you from? / what city did you come from? (你是哪里人?).
China is a vast country and to reach the local village, some Chinese have to spend more than 3 days, changing different transportation.
Almost half of the population move from north to south and back during the Spring Festival Great Moving (chunyun).
In spite of a well-developed traffic infrastructure, people have to sleep at railway and bus stations, queue up for many hours long, awaiting for the available tickets.
To unclog the traffic routes the Chinese Government takes measures every year before the Chinese New Year - they organise additional routes, control tickets sale, encourage some factories to provide workers with an earlier holidays. Thus, some workers start Chinese New Year holiday 3 weeks before the official date of the Lunar New Year.
Chinese New Year and business in China.
That is always hard period for businessmen, who placed production or ordered goods in China. All the factories stop production for a long period and come back to work after 2-4 week after New Year coming.
The official holiday for Chinese people lasts more or less 1 week, and after that migrant workers come back to factories or search for another factories if they are not satisfied with the previous job.
If a worker wants to get another job, a factory has to find a new worker and spend some time for his training.
That is why many factories may start the new season much later than they planned.
To prevent this problems, factories provide bonus or 13-th salary to encourage the workers come back after the Chinese New Year and continue working at the factory.
If you start cooperation with a Chinese supplier, you should discuss in advance the production terms, work schedule and the schedule of Chinese national holidays.
All the terms should be mentioned in the sales agreement, so that you may control the production time and apply for reimbursement in case of goods delivery delay.
If a Chinese friend invited you to celebrate together the Chinese New Year, that would be an interesting experience for you, and that also means you are a good and respected person for this Chinese family.
Take a chance and do participate in a family celebration of the most important Chinese holiday - Chinese New Year. You will know a lot about Chinese culture and Chinese people.