In 2023, the Chinese New Year is celebrated on Sunday, January 22. This holiday is always associated with the date of the new moon in China.
China traditionally celebrates the Lunar New Year on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This new moon will occur this year on January 21st at 20:53 GMT. Due to time zone differences, it will happen on January 22 at 04:53 in China. Since Chinese time is the reference point for the Spring Festival, the world will celebrate the holiday on January 22.
The Spring Festival is the most important of all traditional holidays in China. Other East Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan and Vietnam also celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Spring Festival is the Lunar New Year, so each year the dates of spring correspond to different dates in the Gregorian calendar.
China has twelve zodiac signs. Each lunar year corresponds to a zodiac and people born in that year will have certain characteristics. Legend has it that the Jade Emperor organized an animal race and the 12 animals that reached the finish line first were listed in the zodiac in order of arrival. They are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
Spring festivals are related to ancient agricultural sacrificial rites. People make sacrifices to heaven and earth in the hope that the new year will have good weather and a good harvest. Nowadays, the Spring Festival has become a festival for Chinese people at home and abroad to meet their families. Before the arrival of the new year, every household is cleaned and carefully decorated to create a festive and joyful atmosphere at home.
On either side of the gate are hung couples with best wishes for the coming year, and door gods are pasted on the door to ward off evil spirits and welcome a year of peace and prosperity. Festival traditions also include hanging red lanterns, glueing paper-cut window grilles, hanging Chinese knots and glueing blessing signs, etc.
On New Year’s Eve, the whole family has dinner together. The dishes on the dining table are rich and varied, and everyone welcomes the new year with a toast. Dumplings in the north and rice cakes in the south are essential New Year’s Eve food. On the first day of the Lunar New Year, everyone dresses up and worships their ancestors. Family and friends bless each other. First, the elders are blessed and the elders give red envelopes to the younger ones.
Street festivities include dragon and lion dances, drumming, firecrackers and fireworks to ward off bad luck and bring good luck into the new year. The fifteenth day of the first lunar month, which coincides with the full moon, is the Lantern Festival, marking the end of the Spring celebrations.
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