A Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year

Learn the Customs and Traditions to Prepare for and Celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important and, at 15 days, the longest holiday in China. Chinese New Year begins on the first day of the lunar calendar, so it is also called Lunar New Year, and it is considered the beginning of spring, so it is also called Spring Festival. Learn the traditions and customs of Chinese New Year and how to prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Basics of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Parade Held In New York City's Chinatown
Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Learn how Chinese New Year celebrations came about and how they have evolved over time.

There's a famous story about a people-eating monster called 'Nian.' The Chinese for New Year, 過年 (guònián) comes from this story.

Important Dates of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebrations
Getty Images/Sally Anscombe

Chinese New Year is held on different dates each year. The dates are based on the lunar calendar. Each year has its own corresponding animal from the Chinese Zodiac, a cycle of 12 animals. Learn how the Chinese zodiac works.

How to Prepare for Chinese New Year

Chinese dumplings
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Most families begin preparing a month or more in advance for Chinese New Year. Here's a guide to what needs to get done before Chinese New Year:

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Hot air fire lantern
Getty Images/Daniel Osterkamp

Chinese New Year includes two weeks of celebration with most activities taking place the day before (New Year's Eve), the first day (New Year's Day) and the last day (Lantern Festival). Here's how to celebrate.

Lantern Festival

Chinese New Year Celebrations in China and Around the World

China Town, San Francisco, USA
China Town, San Francisco, USA. Getty Images/WIN-Initiative
  • Chinese New Year: Hong Kong
  • Chinese New Year: Macau
  • Chinese New Year: Shanghai

Chinese New Year Around the World

  • Chinese New Year: New York City
  • Chinese New Year: San Francisco
  • Chinese New Year: Los Angeles
  • Chinese New Year: Washington, DC
  • Chinese New Year: United Kingdom
  • Chinese New Year: Paris