🍊🧧 Huat? (what?) 8 Lesser Known Things you didn't know about Chinese New Year!
CNY is just around the corner. And let’s not lie that red packets are something we are all looking forward to, unless you’re married of course! (But all of us were once single and used to look forward to it I’m sure). Jokes aside, whether we’re married or not, here's 8 lesser known things for all races to know about this Chinese New Year / Spring Festival / Lunar New Year! (not surprisingly as a chinese, I learnt some of them writing this article..)
1. Chinese New Year is also known as "Spring Festival" and also known as "Lunar New Year" 🤔
In China, you’ll hear it being called chunjie (春节), or the Spring Festival. It’s still very wintry, but the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.
To make things even more confusing for you, Chinese New Year is also known as Lunar New Year, because the Spring Festival goes according to the lunar calendar. Countries such as North and South Korea and Vietnam celebrate it as well.
2. There’s no set date for Chinese New Year
According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is on January 1st and lasts until the 15th (the full moon). Unlike western holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you try to calculate it with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the date is all over the place.
Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20. In 2023, it occurs on January 22.
3. The New Year greeting in Chinese is “xin nian kuai le” (新年快乐)
Yes, I know you know this already by now, but for our non-Chinese readers, this is the phrase you can use and say to your Chinese friends during this period!
For you "advanced" wishing wizards we have an advanced Cheatsheet for you coming up soon too.
Stay tuned for our New Year greetings cheatsheet for those who are panicking about what to say to your relatives this New Year!
4. Every year has a zodiac animal (Dr Do Little anyone?)
Western horoscopes include 12 zodiacs, one for each month. There are 12 Chinese zodiacs as well, but the animal is for the entire year. Check out the animals and its years for this 12 year cycle below!
5. Your zodiac year is bad luck (sorry Rabbits 😔)
Your benming year (本命年 / běn mìng nián) is the year of your zodiac animal. And of the 12 year cycle, it is the unluckiest for you.
There are multiple explanations for this. The Chinese believe that children can easily be taken by demons. And your benming year is your rebirth year.
6. No showering, sweeping or throwing out garbage allowed!
Showering isn’t allowed New Year’s Day (keep a safe distance from one another 🤮). Sweeping and throwing out garbage isn’t allowed before the 5th. This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck!
However, there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This day is to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good.
7. Chinese New Year desserts have special meanings
Take the tangyuan for example. It literally means “soup balls.” But it sounds like tuanyuan (团圆), which means reunion. So it’s no surprise it’s a popular dessert during Chinese New Year.
Nian gao (年糕) is a type of rice cake. It symbolizes success each and every year.
Fa gao (发糕) is a the hybrid of sponge cakes and muffins. People dye it festive colors. The fa is the same as in fa cai (发财), which means “to get rich.” And everyone wants that!
Isn’t it nice to have a better reason to get seconds?
8. Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival
The first full moon of the (lunar) year is the Yuanxiao Festival (元宵节 / yuán xiāo jié) or Lantern Festival (灯节 / dēng jié). Though family is still important, it’s still a night of partying and freedom.
In ancient times, girls weren’t allowed to venture outside by themselves. But on this night, they were able to walk around, moon-gaze and look at the beautiful lanterns. Because of this, it’s also known as Valentine’s Day in China.
We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we did writing it, as usual, do leave us some wishes in the comments and multiply the joy and happiness by sharing this article with your loved ones! Happy Chinese New Year!