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