People performing the traditional Lion dance during Chinese New Year Image Source: Xinhua/Wan Xiang/IANS

Chinese New Year 2023 is celebrated on January 22, 2023 and marks the start of the year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese New Year (CNY), otherwise known as the Lunar New Year, is the oldest and the biggest celebration of festivals, starting with the Little Year [Chinese Date Xin Chou (12th month) 23rd, 4720], followed by the Spring Festival [Chinese Date Gui-Chou (1st month) 1st, 4721], ending with the Lantern Festival [Chinese Date Jia-yin (1st month) 15th, 4721]. The most important holiday season for the people of China, the Chinese New Year is a 15-day festival celebrated based on the sighting of the new moon, marking the beginning of the traditional lunisolar Chinese Calendar. The Chinese New Year is celebrated by over 1.4 billion people in more than 20 countries.

Chinese New Year 2023 was on January 22 Sunday

CNY 2023 Dates

Little Year- January 14th, 2023
Spring Festival- January 22nd, 2023
Lantern Festival- February 5th, 2023

Fireworks on Hudson River in New York on February 14, 2018 celebrating Chinese New Year Image Source: Xinhua/Wang Ying/IANS

As people await to celebrate the arrival of the New Moon, they adorn the streets and homes with red lanterns and scrolls, strolling down the street with much pomp and loud crackers. There is a little story behind these traditions.

History of Chinese New Year

Though it is unclear as to when the Chinese started celebrating Lunar New Year, it is assumed to have begun since the year-end religious ceremonies observed during the Shang Dynasty back in 1122 BC.

An old Chinese legend has it that once a village was frightened by the arrival of a monster named Nian, who would visit the village on the first of every year and eat up all their food. Nian would also harm people and swallow everyone who appeared in its sight. As the years passed by, the villagers discovered that the color red, fire and loud noises annoyed and frightened the beast.

A "Love in Spring time" exhibit held on January 25th, 2017 in Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year Image Source: Xinhua/Then Chih Wey/IANS

Since then, on every new moon on the first of their Lunar calendar, people burst loud crackers, made loud noises, hung red lanterns and red scrolls on their doors. The color red, firecrackers, lanterns made out of bamboo or wooden frames, fish,oranges and tangerines, and red envelopes with golden engraved symbols are a major part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

People celebrating Chinese New Year with firecrackers in Malaysia on January 24th, 2020 Image Source: Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua/IANS

Chinese New Year Festival days and Events

The Spring Festival to Lantern Festival is a festive period in China. Here are the 16 days of festivals leading to Lantern Festival.

Date Event About the Day
January 21 New Year's Eve (除夕 / chúxì) Family reunion, dinner, and staying up till New Year.
January 22 Spring Festival (春节 / chūn jié) (Birthday of Chicken)
(大年初一 / The first day of the New Year)
Visit elder family members, relatives, temples, giving gifts
January 23 To In-law’s Day (迎婿日 / yíng xù rì) (Birthday of the Dog)
(大年初二 / The second day of the New Year)
Married daughters bring their husbands to visit their parents.
January 24 Day of the Rat (鼠日 / shǔ rì) (Birthday of Pig)
(大年初三 / The third day of the New Year)
Inauspicious day to visit anyone as people get into arguments. Stay home, and play games
January 25 Birthday of the Sheep (羊日 / yáng rì) (Also 接神日 / God’s Day)
(大年初四 / The fourth day of the New Year)
Auspicious day for temple visits, honoring the Kitchen God, and fortune telling
January 26 Break Five (破五 / pò wǔ) (Birthday of OX)
(大年初五 / The fifth day of the New Year)
Day to break bad lucks by bursting firecrackers. Also, the day when the God of Wealth visits the family
January 27 Day of the Horse (马日 / mǎ rì)
(大年初六 / The sixth day of the New Year)
People resume going to work, and an auspicious day to clean and throw old things away
January 28 Day of the Human (人日 / rén rì)
(大年初七 / The seventh day of the New Year)
People eat special food for blessings
January 29 Day of the Millet (谷日节 / gǔ rì jié)
(大年初八 / The eighth day of the New Year)
Gods and Goddesses visit our world. Reunion dinner with family to finish the New Year leftover food
January 30 Providence Health (天公生 / tiān gōng shēng)
(天公誕 / Jade Emperor’s Birthday)
(大年初九 / The ninth day of the New Year)
Offerings are given to the Jade Emperor and his birthday is celebrated
January 31 Stone Festival (石头节 / shí tou jié)
(Mother Earth’s Birthday)
(初十 / Tenth day)
Celebrated as both Stone festival and Mother Earth’s Birthday, festive meals and candies are served on this occasion
February 1 Son-in-law Day (子婿日 / zǐ xù rì)
(十一 / Eleventh Day)
Fathers treat their son-in-law on this day
February 2 Lantern Festival Preparations (Set up structures for Lantern Festival)
(十二 / Twelfth Day)
Structures is prepared for the Lantern festival
February 3 (点灶灯 / Light the stove light)
(Set up lights for Lantern Festival)
(十三 / Thirteenth Day)
Lighting decorations are put up for the Lantern festival. Also, the day when Emperor Guan became one of the Gods
February 4 Lights up the decorations for the Lantern Festival
(十四 / Fourteenth Day)
The lights and decorations are lit up for the start of the Lantern Festival
February 5 Lantern Festival (元宵节 / yuán xiāo jié)
Also, one of the Chinese Valentine’s Day
(十五 / Fifteenth Day)
Lanterns are lit on this day. Dragon dances are performed on this day. Solve a riddle game is played with the riddle written on the lantern. This day marks the completion of the celebrations

When is Chinese New Year Celebrated?

Chinese New Year festival is celebrated with the sighting of the new moon in the start of every year. This marks the first day on the Chinese Calendar. Every year, national holidays begin on the first day of the Chinese Calendar or the Lunar Calendar and end on the 15th of the first month.

People walk on the street adorned with lanterns on their way to China’s Henan Province, February 21st, 2015 Image Source: Xinhua/zkr/IANS

Hence, Chinese New Year falls on different dates in the English Calendar each year. In 2023, Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival falls on the 22nd of January, 2023 in the Gregorian Calendar. The Little Year falls on the 14th of January, 2023 and the Chinese New Year celebrations end on the 5th of February, 2023 with the Lantern Festival. In Chinese culture, the zodiac system is a cycle of animal signs that repeats every 12 years. In the order of occurrence, the zodiac animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Every year is associated with the above order of the Chinese Zodiac animals, making the Chinese Animal Year of 2023 the Year of the Rabbit.

Chinese Astrology Links

Chinese Fortune-Telling

As the world clocks toward the Lunar New Year, people are having their fortunes predicted for the Year of the Rabbit. Chinese fortune telling as an occult practice has a huge significance among people in most parts of China. It originated with its practice in divination and religion, when people surrendered their fates to nature. Performed in different methods, including Bazi, face reading, palm reading, Feng Shui, and fortune sticks, fortune-telling has evolved as a practice with its own discipline among the people of China. Their faith in the system of Chinese Fortune-Telling is profound, that their religion, cultural thinking and ideologies, all rely on fortune telling.

A season of love, respect, companionship and good luck, the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is a glorious celebration to look forward to.

Xīnnián kuàilè! (Happy New Year)

A Chinese dragon-shaped lantern Image Source: Xinhua/Liu Lihang/IANS

A Chinese dragon-shaped lantern at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Tirana, capital of Albania, marking the opening of "Happy Chinese New Year - The Chinese Lantern Festival" event in the city

FAQs

1) When is Chinese New Year Celebrated?

Chinese New Year festival is celebrated with the sighting of the new moon in the start of every year.  This marks the first day on the Chinese Calendar. Every year, national holidays begin on the first day of the Chinese Calendar or the Lunar Calendar and end on the 15th of the first month. Hence, Chinese New Year falls on different dates in the English Calendar each year.

2) When is Chinese New Year in 2023?

In 2023, Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival falls on the 22nd of January, 2023 in the Gregorian Calendar. The Little Year falls on the 14th of January, 2023, and the Chinese New Year celebrations end on the 5th of February, 2023 with the Lantern Festival.

3) What is Chinese New Year for 2023/ What is the Chinese Animal Year for 2023?

In Chinese culture, the zodiac system is a cycle of animal signs that repeats every 12 years. In the order of occurrence, the zodiac animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Every year is associated with the above order of the Chinese Zodiac animals, making the Chinese Animal Year of 2023 the Year of the Rabbit.

Chinese Zodiac animals Image Source: Xinhua/Wang Ying/IANS

Lantern of Chinese Zodiac animal Rabbit at NYC Winter Lantern Festival in New York. Year 2023 is the 'Year of the Rabbit' as per the Chinese Calendar

4) What is Chinese Zodiac Animal?

In Chinese culture, the zodiac system is a cycle of animal signs that repeats every 12 years. In the order of occurrence, the zodiac animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Every year is associated with the above order of the Chinese Zodiac animals, making the Chinese Animal Year of 2023 the Year of the Rabbit.

5) How long is the Chinese New Year Celebrated

15 Days - The most important holiday season for the people of China, the Chinese New Year is a 15-day festival celebrated based on the sighting of the new moon, marking the beginning of the traditional lunisolar Chinese Calendar.

Chinese New Year festival dates between 2020 & 2030

YearDate
2020Saturday, 25th of January
2021Friday, 12th of February
2022Tuesday, 1st of February
2023Sunday, 22nd of January
2024Saturday, 10th of February
2025Wednesday, 29th of January
2026Tuesday, 17th of February
2027Saturday, 6th of February
2028Wednesday, 26th of January
2029Tuesday, 13th of February
2030Sunday, 3rd of February

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