Chinese New Year: when and how is celebrated

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is celebrated in China between 21st January and 19th February, so not on a fixed date. This is due the fact that the Chinese traditional calendar is the lunisolar one, which has been existing from more than 5000 years. This year’s Spring Festival will be on 5th February and it’ll mark the pig’s year. 

The origin of this celebration dates back at the monster Nian legend. According to this ancient legend, the monster used to go out of its burrow once a year to eat humans. To fight the monster, the population has to scary him with red colour and loud noises. That’s why we used to celebrate with music, songs, fireworks, firecrackers and the massive use of red colour.

In the families, the eve is celebrated with the ritual of cleaning house that symbolizes the passing of the year. Dinner is based on fish, ravioli and spring rolls, which represent abundance and richness. Other typical dishes are spaghetti of longevity, Tangyuan and Niangao, all dishes that indicate unity and improvement of working conditions. During dinner it is used to exchange hongbao containing money.

The public dimension of the festival is almost similar to the Western tradition, as it involves entertainment, the organization of events, exhibitions, parties and travels. A typical initiative is the dance of the lion, an animal associated with strength and courage. 

The Spring festival ends with the lantern festival, an emblem of happiness and good wishes for the future.

Written by Nicole Scopel 

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