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Chinese New Year: What you need to know

Date:

This week, millions of people will be celebrating Chinese New Year. People will eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion.

When is it? 

Chinese New Year will begin on Tuesday 5 February 2019.

The reason the new year falls at this time is because it marks the start of the lunar new year, which is when there is the start of a new moon.

This is different to the ‘Gregorian’ calendar that we traditionally use in the UK, which always starts on 1 January.

Modern Chinese calendars use the Gregorian calendar but include lunar holidays. (Credits: Chinese New Year)

Because it depends on the moon, the date of Chinese New Year actually changes each year, but it will always fall some time between 21 January and 20 February.

What is it?

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.

In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of twelve animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac.

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. So the animals will have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle.

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