12 February 2010

Chinese New Year Calendar

The coming Chinese New Year is 2010-02-14. It is 2 days away. This year's animal sign is Ox from 2009-01-26 to 2010-02-14. Check below for the Chinese New Year date of other years.
  • 2009 Ox (2009-01-26—2010-02-14)
  • 2010 Tiger (2010-02-14—2011-02-03)
  • 2011 Rabbit (2011-02-03—2012-01-23)
  • 2012 Dragon (2012-01-23—2013-02-10)
  • 2013 Snake (2013-02-10—2014-01-31)
  • 2014 Horse (2014-01-31—2015-02-18)
  • 2015 Sheep (2015-02-18—2016-02-08)
  • 2016 Monkey (2016-02-08—2017-01-28)
  • 2017 Rooster (2017-01-28—2018-02-15)
  • 2018 Dog (2018-02-15—2019-02-05)
  • 2019 Pig (2019-02-05—2020-01-25)
  • 2020 Rat (2020-01-25—2021-02-12)
  • 2021 Ox (2021-02-12—2022-02-01)
  • 2022 Tiger (2022-02-01—2023-01-22)
  • 2023 Rabbit (2023-01-22—2024-02-10)
  • 2024 Dragon (2024-02-10—2025-01-29)
  • 2025 Snake (2025-01-29—2026-02-17)
  • 2026 Horse (2026-02-17—2027-02-06)
  • 2027 Sheep (2027-02-06—2028-01-26)
  • 2028 Monkey (2028-01-26—2029-02-13)
  • 2029 Rooster (2029-02-13—2030-02-03)
  • 2030 Dog (2030-02-03—2031-01-23)
The Chinese New Year is the most important of the holidays for Chinese. It is defined to be the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar. Unlike the Christian New Year which is based on a solar calendar, the Chinese New Year is based on a traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. A lunar month is around 2 days shorter than a solar month. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar, an extra month is inserted every few years. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.

Normally, the celebration will start from the New Year's Eve and will last for around 15 days until the mid of the first month. Before the celebration, people will normally do a complete cleaning of the house and put on the traditional New Year decoration. Family reunion is the most important part of the Chinese New Year celebration. The New Year's Eve is the time for family reunion. Following by the reunion, people will normally visit relatives and friends, doing shopping, watch some traditional Chinese shows, launch some fireworks, and plan for the coming year. The celebration will sometimes be highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of heaven, earth, and other gods, as well as the family ancestors. In modern China, working professionals will normally have 7 days of holiday including weekend to celebrate. After the family reunion, some modern Chinese may take the chance to visit some tourist destinations.

Different part of China has very different traditions. The following are the most typical traditions.

The New Year's Eve dinner is the most important dinner for Chinese. Normally this is the family reunion dinner, especially for those with family member away from home. In the New Year's Eve dinner, normally fish will be served. Dumplings are the most important disk in northern china. These two dishes mean prosperous. Other disks are depending on personal preference. The majority of Chinese will have New Year's Eve dinner at home instead of restaurant.

Fireworks are used to drive away the evil in China. Right after the 12:00PM of the New Year's Eve, fireworks will be launched to celebrate the coming of the New Year as well as driven away the evil. It is believed that the person who launched the first Fireworks in the New Year will get good luck.

Shou Sui means after the New Year's Eve dinner, family members will normally stay awake during the night and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some believe that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents. Some people just stay until the mid night, after the fireworks. According to tales and legends, there was a mythical beast called the "Year". At the night of New Year's Eve, the "Year" will come out to harm people, animals, and proprieties. Later people found that the "Year" is afraid of red color, fire, and loud sound. Therefore, at the New Year's Eve night, people will launch fireworks, put on some fires, and stay awakes the whole night to fend of the "Year".

Red packet is a red envelope with money in it, range from one to a few thousand Chinese Yuan. Usually the red racket is given by adults, especially married couple, and elderly to young children in the New Year days. It was believed that the money in the red packet will suppress the evil from the children, keep the children healthy, and long living.

At the New Years days, a temporarily market will be setup mainly selling New Year goods, such as clothing, fireworks, decoration, foods, small arts, etc. The market is usually decorated with a large amount of lanterns.

Small year is the 23th or 24th of the last month of the year. It is said that this is the day the food god will leave the family to go to the heaven to report the activity of family to the Emperor of the heaven. People will have some religious ceremony to farewell the food god, including take down and burn the paint of the food god. After the New Year's Day, people will buy a new paint of the food god and post it at the kitchen.

A few days before the Chinese New Year, people will do a complete cleaning of the house and house ware; means get rid of the old and welcome the new. In old days when bath is not often, people will normally take a throughout bath to welcome the New Year.

After the cleaning, people will decorate the house to welcome the New Year. Most of the decorations are red in color. The most popular New Year decorations are upside down fu, dui lian, lantern, year paint, papercutting, door god, etc..


Anonymous said...

What is said to a Chinese friend in order to greet or wish a good New Year to them?

The Vhaidra Saga Author, Nicholas Stanosheck said...

Year of the Tiger Messages
zhù nǐ/nín 祝你/您… = Wishing you…

hǔ nián kuàilè 虎年快乐 = Happy Year of the Tiger
hǔ nián jíxiáng 虎年吉祥 = Have a lucky Year of the Tiger
hǔ nián xíng dà yùn 虎年行大运 = May the Year of the Tiger bring you great luck
xīhǔ zhù nín hǔ nián wàng 犀虎祝您虎年旺 = May the rhinoceros-tiger bring you a prosperous Year of the Tiger*
Standard New Year’s Greetings
dà jí dà lì 大吉大利 = Good luck and good profit (see also New Year’s puns)
gōnghè xīnxǐ 恭贺新喜 = Happy New Year
gōngxǐ fācái 恭喜发财 = get rich
guò nián hǎo 过年好 = Happy New Year
jiā hé wàn shì xīng 家和万事兴 = If the family lives in harmony, all affairs will prosper
niánnián gāoshēng 年年高升 = get a promotion every year
shēntǐ jiànkāng 身体健康 = have good health
shìshì rúyì 事事如意 = everything go according to your wishes
shìshì shùnlì 事事順利 = everything go smoothly
wànshì rúyì 万事如意 = all your wishes come true
xīnnián kuàilè 新年快乐 = Happy New Year
xīn xiǎng shì chéng = wishes come true
xiàokǒu chángkāi 笑口常开 = always smile
Heart Marathon
Sheila also gave me this as an example of a longer message friends might send to each other. This one features the character for “heart” at the end of every line:

hǔ nián zhùyuàn nín: gōngzuò shūxīn, xīnshuǐ héxīn, bèiwō nuǎnxīn, péngyou zhīxīn, àirén tóngxīn, yíqiè shùnxīn, yǒngyuǎn kāixīn, shìshì chènxīn

Here’s the breakdown:

hǔ nián zhùyuàn nín 虎年祝愿您… = this Year of the Tiger I wish you…

gōngzuò shūxīn 工作舒心 = comfortable work
xīnshuǐ héxīn 薪水合心 = suitable salary
bèiwō nuǎn xīn 被窝暖心 = warm-hearted bed
péngyou zhīxīn 朋友知心 = caring friends
àirén tóngxīn 爱人同心 = harmonious marriage
yíqiè shùnxīn 一切顺心 = happy everything
yǒngyuǎn kāixīn 永远开心 = eternal happiness
shìshì chènxīn 事事称心 = everything satisfactory

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