Chinese New Year, known as Spring Festival, is one of the most important event for Chinese people. It has about 4000 year of history.

What exactly means? What Chinese people do in these days?

One day before the New Year, most Chinese people commute to spend this magical time with the family. This year was about 250 million people.

The Spring Festival lasts 15 days. It starts from the 1st until 15th of the first lunar month. Students have one month holiday while the employees have a whole week for celebrations.

This festival it is said that started during Shang Dynasty (17th to 11th Century BC). In that period was a monster called Nian which liked to eat children and livestock. This monster was afraid of loud sound and red color. This is the reason Chinese people decorate their houses with red and set off firecrackers.

Each year, based on the Chinese lunar calendar, we have the Chinese New Year. The day is not always the same. Each year, based on the Chinese zodiac, we will have a new animal year (with the exception of Dragon which is mythical). Every 12 years the animal repeats.

There is a schedule Chinese people follow as per their tradition:

  • New Year’s Eve: Pasting New Year couplets, Dinner in the family, TV gala, fireworks
  • New Year day: firecrackers, eating dumplings, visiting relatives and friends
  • Second day of New Year: Worship the Wealth God, Daughters which are married return home
  • Fifth day of New Year: Welcoming the Wealth God
  • On the 15th Day of the New Year we celebrate Lantern Festival with Lantern Fair, Lantern riddles and eating rice dumplings.


The New Year or spring couplets are paper decorations and they have the Fu Character which means Wealth. New clothes are bought by families before New Year. Children have a very special place in the family tradition. Red Envelopes are given to kids and elders to share the blessing.

Chinese people are still very traditional. There are activities which can predict the coming year. There are certain words which are forbidden in family reunion such as: death, broken, killing, ghost or anything to do with illness. Crying, washing, lending and taking medicine are also considered unlucky.

As traditional goes one there are gifts which you can make to a Chinese person and some which are a No-No! Acceptable gifts are: heath products, liquor, cigarettes, tea, fruits, red envelopes so on. The gifts which are forbidden are: clock, umbrella, shoes, sharp objects, pears, chrysanthemum so on.

Chinese Greetings for the New Year:

  1. 新年好 / 新年好 (Xīn nián hǎo) ‘New Year goodness!’
  2. 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) ‘Happiness and prosperity!’
  3. 步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng) A steady rise to high places! — “on the up and up”


This year it is the Year of the Monkey.

Monkey is the ninth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac. The Years of the Monkey include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028…

The monkey is a clever animal. It is usually compared to a smart person. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), the dignified Chinese official title of marquis was pronounced ‘Hou’, the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. The animal was thereby bestowed with an auspicious meaning, therefore we are expecting this year to be a very good one for everyone!

What famous people were born in the Year of the Monkey

Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Alice Walker, Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Owen Wilson, Daniel Craig, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Kim Cattrall, Nick Carter, Patricia Arquette, Alyson Stoner, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez.

Well these are some insights in the Chinese New Year Traditions! It is a unique experience in China and everyone is welcome to join!


Happy New Year!  新年好 / 新年好!

Dr. Rhea Du

Dr. Rhea Du

International Shaolin Cultural Exchange Ambassador of Shaolin Temple Yunnan