Chinese New Year 2024: Year of the Wood Dragon

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When is Chinese New Year 2024?

The Chinese New Year 2024 will be celebrated on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

According to Chinese astrology, the year 2024 will be the Year of the Wood Dragon, which will begin on Saturday, February 10, 2024, and end on Wednesday, January 28, 2025.

As a public holiday, the Chinese people will have a 7-day holiday from February 9 to February 15, 2024.

In China, the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is the main celebration and the best opportunity to meet with families. Besides China, many countries and regions around the world also celebrate the Spring Festival through various activities.

CHINESE NEW YEAR DATES

The following table shows the dates and animals of the Lunar New Year celebrations from 2023 to 2028.

Year New Year DateYear Animal
2023Sunday, Jan.22Water Rabbit
2024Saturday, Feb.10Wood Dragon
2025Wednesday, Jan.29Wood Snake
2026Tuesday, Feb.17Fire Horse
2027Saturday, Feb.6Fire Goat
2028Wednesday, Jan.26Earth Monkey

The duration and important dates of the Chinese New Year 2024

In 2024 , the Chinese New Year celebration will last from Friday, February 9 to Thursday, February 15. The week of Saturday January 21 to Friday January 27 will be a public holiday.

In China, the traditional Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) holiday is the longest and most important holiday period. Traditionally, the celebration will last 16 days, from New Year 's Eve to the Lantern Festival (the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year). The week from New Year's Eve to the sixth day of the Lunar New Year will be a public holiday.

And the important dates of Chinese New Year are the New Year's Eve , Chinese New Year's Day and the Lantern Festival . Important dates for Chinese New Year 2024:

Important celebrationLunar calendar date (fixed)Gregorian calendar date of 2024
New Year's EveDecember 30February 9, 2024
Chinese New Year's DayJanuary 1stFebruary 10, 2024
Lantern FestivalJanuary 15February 24, 2024

Practical day-to-day guide to pleasantly spend the Chinese New Year 2024 in China

If you are in China during Chinese New Year 2024, then the following table will definitely come in handy. Chinese companies and public institutions take a 7-day holiday for Chinese New Year. However, some business areas (like ours) will remain open with service staff. In addition, most major shopping malls, tourist attractions, public transport, hotels and restaurants will be open as usual, and even longer!!! Also consult the table below which will allow you to know the local customs and the level of frequentation of transport according to the dates.

Date (2024)At home and in the streetsTransportAt work/ What's open
January 26 to February 8, 2024Decorating and cleaning the streets, shopping for the preparation of the New Year.Saturated : return trip to the hinterlandYear-end events; gradual slowdown.
February 9, 2024 ( New Year's Eve )Decorating houses, having dinner with the family, using firecrackers, watching CCTV's New Year's Eve TV galaImprovement on medium and long distances, but still very busy at the local levelMost stores lower their curtains in the afternoon. Closure of businesses
February 10, 2024 ( New Year's Day )At the stroke of midnight, from dusk to dawn: firecrackers, fireworks; exchange of traditional gifts, red envelopes; wishesCalmeOffices and banks closed; only major shopping centers remain open
February 11, 2024 (2nd day after New Year's)Visit of close friends and relatives , fireworks for the guests before dinner.CalmeStopped for most administrations. Only major shopping centers remain open.
February 12, 2024 (3rd day after New Year's)Visiting close friends and relatives in town or in neighboring villages.Locally charged, nationally correctLimited banking and government services; only major malls remain open.
February 13 and 14, 2024 (4th and 5th days after New Year's)Visiting close friends and relatives or relaxing, even short trips. For some, back to work.Very busy: beginning of the return trips to the citiesBanking and government services limited. Shops are gradually reopening.
February 15, 2024 (6th day after New Year's)Official end of the holiday season . China is preparing to return to work.Very busy: more return trips to citiesSome companies resume their activity a day earlier.
From February 16 to February 24, 2024 (7th - 15th days after New Year's)Daily life has resumed its normal course. School holidays end on February 10. New Year's decorations remain until the Lantern Festival (February 8).Overcrowded : peak in return trips to citiesNormal business activity on the 8th day after the New Year (February 1).

Chinese New Year Foods (most have a lucky meaning)

Fish is the mainstay of the family dinner for Chinese New Year.

Tasted during the New Year celebration, the foods are chosen according to their symbolism bringing good luck. For example, the fish (Yù, in Chinese), omnipresent throughout the traditional duration of the festivals (16 days) and whose sound is similar to that of the word "abundance". Nevertheless, it is consumed more particularly, during the family dinner on New Year's Eve.

Below, we have listed the new lucky foods ( as well as their associated symbolic meaning): 

  • Pisces (increased prosperity
  • Chinese dumplings (great richness)
  • Sticky rice cake (a higher income or position)

How is Chinese New Year celebrated in China? - Traditions and celebrations

The most important activities during the Chinese New Year are: 1) Decorating your house, 2) Organizing a family meal and exploding fireworks and firecrackers, 3) Giving red envelopes containing money, 4) Play the dragon dance and other festivities.

1. Preparation for Chinese New Year - Decorations of lucky red items

Duilian placed on a doorjamb as the New Year approaches.

Every street, every building and every house where the Spring Festival is celebrated is decorated with red , the ubiquitous color of this festival and which symbolizes Happiness and luck. In the streets, you can see the Chinese lanterns (always red) hanging everywhere. On the jamb of the entrance door of their dwelling, the locals display duilian or antithetical couplets calligraphy on strips of cloth or red paper. Finally, banks and official buildings feature red New Year illustrations, symbols of prosperity.

A month before the Chinese New Year, most public decorations begin to appear. On the other hand, the locals decorate their house just on New Year's Eve. In 2022, the year of the tiger will begin. As a result, we will observe many decorations evoking this animal. Don't miss the opportunity to buy the red tiger plush toy for children as well as New Year paintings illustrated with tigers.

2. Chinese New Year's Eve - Family reunion dinner, firecrackers and fireworks

- Family reunion dinner

The many dishes that make up New Year's Eve dinners each have a very specific meaning.

The Chinese prefer the Chinese New Year celebration to get together with family. Wherever they find it, you can see that people go home to celebrate the festival with parents and children. Moreover, the Chinese consider the New Year's Eve dinner (or, as its name suggests, the “reunion dinner”) as the most important meal of the year.

Like the spectators who impatiently await the release of the ball in New York's Time Square on New Year's Eve, the Chinese have a habit of staying up late on Chinese New Year's Eve in order to to celebrate the arrival of the new year. After dinner, families usually gather in the living room to watch the grand gala of the Spring Festival, one of the most watched television programs in China. At the same time, most people will send from their smartphones (via the wechat application) red envelopes or short messages of congratulations to their friends and acquaintances.

- Firecrackers and fireworks

Firecrackers and fireworks on Chinese New Year's Eve

In China, the tradition of detonating firecrackers to mark the passage of the new year goes back a long way. Little by little, the fireworks came to mingle with the impressive general cacophony of the moment. From public demonstrations in major cities to millions of private celebrations in rural areas of the country, the use of fireworks is now becoming inseparable from the festivities.

At midnight, at the time of the transition to the new year, millions of fireworks will unfold in the sky, in all places of the country and much more than usual.

3. Red envelopes, Chinese New Year red packet (hongbao)

As at Christmas in other countries, the Chinese exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. On this occasion, in rural areas, the practice of offering presents to the elderly, in particular, still continues. In contrast, younger people simply prefer to receive red envelopes containing money (either traditionally by hand or electronically (wechat)).

The most common presents exchanged during the New Year are red envelopes filled with money. By their color, they are supposed to bring good luck. These red envelopes are mainly offered to children and older members of the family. As a general rule, working adults receive this envelope of gifts, only from their employer. Learn more about red envelopes.

4. Dragon/lion dance and other Chinese New Year festivities

Public celebrations: A little everywhere in many Chinese cities, one can attend, from New Year's Day, traditional performances of dragon and lion dances or those of the lion as well as imperial representations such as, in particular, the interpretation of the emperor's marriage. A wide variety of traditional Chinese products are offered as well as snacks rarely seen the rest of the year. In addition, by entering parks, temples and fairs, visitors will be able to fully enjoy all these celebrations.

Happy New Year Wishes in Chinese

Among the most famous traditional wishes presented for the Chinese New Year, one thinks, immediately, of those expressed in Cantonese, "Kung hei fat choi, meaning, "My best wishes, that this new year is conducive to personal enrichment". In Mandarin, the equivalent is "gongxi facai /gong-sshee faa-tseye"/.

You will find below the few expressions frequently used to express best wishes for the Chinese New Year.

Chinese charactersPinyinFrench translation
Happy New YearHīnnián hǎoGood year
Happy New YearXinnián quailèHappy Chinese New Year
May you be happy and prosperousGōngxǐ fācsuccess and prosperity
surplus every yearNiánnián yǒu yúSurplus income from year to year
May all go well with youWán shì ru yìLet everything go according to your wishes
Longma spiritLong mǎ jīngshénThe strength of the dragon and the horse

1. 新年好 - 'Happy New Year Chinese New Year'

 In Chinese Mandarin: xīn nián hǎo /sshin-nyen haoww/

2. Happy New Year - 'Joyeux Nouvel an chinois'

 In Mandarin Chinese: xīn nián kuài lè /sshin-nyen kwhy-ler/

3. Gong Xi Fa Cai - 'Réussite et prospérité'

 In Mandarin Chinese: gong xǐ fā cái /gong-sshee faa-tseye/

4. All the best - 'Réussite et prospérité'

 A Chinese mandarin: wàn shì rú yì /wann-shrr roo-ee/

5. Good luck - 'Beaucoup de chance et de profits'

 En Chinois mandarin : gives jí gives there /daa-jee daa-lee /

Chinese New Year Susperstitions Do's and Don'ts

Lucky red lanterns marked with the character "luck", very popular Chinese New Year decorations.

Over time, the Chinese become less and less superstitious. However, by tradition, they continue to believe that the events of the beginning of the year will affect the whole year to come. Thus the Spring Festival represents a period of superstitions. It is believed that the appearance (color and shape) of an object, as well as the sound of certain words, give them auspicious properties or, on the contrary, bad omens.

The luckiest things to do during Chinese New Year

  • Offer money and gifts chosen according to the numbers, wrapped in red, colored, lucky charm paper and accompanied by wishes for the new year.
  • On New Year's Eve, eat foods believed to bring good luck, such as fish, especially carp or catfish. Be sure to save some leftovers for New Year's Day.
  • Launching numerous fireworks and firecrackers supposed to scare away evil spirits and attract luck.

The most naughty things to avoid during Chinese New Year

  • Having an accident, especially if it results in hospitalization, tears and property damage: All indicate bad omens.
  • Giving presents with meanings, colors, words or numbers that bring bad luck, or even, again, express something that could turn out to be ominous.
  • Sweeping on New Year's Day means: "to blow all your luck away"

Which countries celebrate Chinese New Year?

Currently, the main countries in the world where the Lunar New Year is celebrated are in Asia. Apart from China, there are also North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei. Let us also remember that Chinese expatriates gather to celebrate this traditional and unmissable festival of the lunar calendar.

Click to find out - How is the Lunar New Year celebrated in France, Vietnam, South Korea and other countries around the world?

Why do we celebrate Chinese New Year?

The history of the Chinese New Year festival dates back over 4000 years. The origins of Lunar New Year celebrations can be traced back to the ancient worship of heaven and earth.

Legend has it that in ancient times, there was a monster named Nian (年, or Nianshou 年兽) with a long head and sharp horns. It lived at the bottom of the sea all year round and only appeared on New Year's Eve to eat people and livestock from nearby villages. Therefore, on New Year's Eve, people would flee to remote mountains to avoid being injured by the monster. People had lived in fear of this monster until an old man with white hair and ruddy complexion visited the village. He refused to hide in the mountains with the villagers, but managed to scare the monster away by sticking red papers on the doors, burning bamboo to make a loud cracking noise (precursor to firecrackers), lighting candles in houses and wearing red clothes. When the villagers returned, they were surprised to find that the village had not been destroyed.

After that, every New Year's Eve, people followed the old man's instructions, and the monster Nian never showed up again. This tradition has continued to the present day and has become an important way to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

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Tiger Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

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Monkey Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

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Rat Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

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