Chinese New Year 2020

Business all but stops during Spring Festival – so you need to plan ahead!

China's commercial sector more or less stalls during the celebration of Chinese New Year (CNY) as offices and factories will close from Saturday 25 January to Sunday 2 February. In Hong Kong, offices and factories officially close for three days.

CNY – 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.

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.

This means that government and private companies and factories are closed, and no goods are produced or orders processed during this period. If you have shipments leaving China, we recommend that you book well in advance as several shipping companies, air carriers and rail operators cancel many of their scheduled departures.

This is what you can expect this year around CNY:

  • DSV’s local offices will be closed from 24 January to 1st February.
  • The vessel capacity of shipping companies will reduce, and departures are limited in the weeks running up to CNY.
  • The environmental IMO 2020 regulation will be effective from 1st January 2020, and this may lead to longer transit times on the FEWB lanes.

Our advice to you is to encourage your Chinese suppliers to place sea freight bookings as quickly as possible at local DSV offices. This will increase the possibility of us reserving space in advance on the carriers.

It’s best to include one or two extra weeks in your logistics planning, as this helps mitigate the risk of any delays. 

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 (春节—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 (谷日节—gǔ rì jié)
February 2nd
January 9th Providence Health (天公生—tiān gōng shēng)
February 3rd
January 10th
Stone Festival (石头节—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 (元宵节—yuán xiāo jié)