open/close

Chinese New Year 2020

More than a fifth of the world celebrates 4,000-year-old festival

Chinese new year

Chinese New Year – or Spring Festival – is celebrated by more than 20% of the people in the world.

It’s the most important holiday in China, and to millions of Chinese who live outside the country and to those of Chinese descent.

In the 21st century, the national holiday begins on the first of the Lunar Calendar. In 2020, Chinese New Year begins on January 25th – the Year of the Rat – and ends on 8th February.

There are many Spring Festival celebrations which take place outside of Asia, and if you have a Chinatown nearby you can get a taste of the parades, lion dances, lantern statues and amazing food which dominates life in China for 15 days.

The most important aspect of Chinese New Year is the family reunion – family members are expected to be home for New Year’s Eve dinner, and this means China witnesses the largest annual migration of people on earth – called the Spring Migration (chunyun (春运), as the elderly typically live in the rural areas, and are joined their by their children.

Most Chinese workers take more than the 15 days that CNY lasts, so many Chinese companies, factories and government institutions close during this period. Stores close for the first five days of the Spring Festival, and some don’t open until the end, so its imperative people stock up beforehand.

Chinese New Year consists of a preparatory phase and two festivals:

  • Jan 17th – 24th – Little Year - preparations last until New Year’s Eve
  • Jan 25th – 4th Feb – Spring Festival 
  • 5th Feb – 8th Feb – Lantern Festival 

Full calendar:

 Solar date (2020)  Lunar date   Title 
 January 17th   December 23rd  Little Year (小年—xiǎo nián)
 January 24th
 December 30th  New Year's Eve (除夕—chúxì)
 January 25th 
 January 1st  Spring Festival (—chūn jié)
 January 26th 
 January 2nd  To the in-law’s (迎婿日—yíng xù rì)
 January 27th
 January 3rd
 Day of the Rat (鼠日—shǔ rì)
 January 28th
 January 4th
 Day of the Sheep (羊日—yáng rì)
 January 29th 
 January 5th
 Break Five (破五—pò wǔ)
 January 30th  January 6th
 Day of the Horse (马日—mǎ rì)
 January 31st  January 7th
 Day of the Human (人日—rén rì)
 February 1st  January 8th
 Day of the Millet (谷日—gǔ rì jié)
 February 2nd
 January 9th  Providence Health (天公生—tiān gōng shēng)
 February 3rd
 January 10th
 Stone Festival (头节—shí tou jié)
 February 4th
 January 11th
 Son-in-law Day (子婿日—zǐ xù rì)
 February 5th - 7th
 January 12th-14th
 Lantern Festival Preperations
 February 8th
 January 15th
 Lantern Festival (元宵—yuán xiāo jié)