Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year falls on Saturday, January 28, 2017
(In 2018, Chinese New Year will fall on Friday, February 16.)
Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭禧發財! (Wishing you happiness and prosperity)
Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, is the largest holiday celebration on the Chinese calendar. Traditionally, the holiday was a time to honor deities and ancestors, as well as to gather family and friends together for elaborate feasts. During Chinese New Year, Chinese parents give cash gifts in red envelopes to their children (red is considered a lucky color in China).
Today, many communities celebrate the holiday with parades, fireworks, and traditional Lion and Dragon dances.
San Francisco, California, hosts the largest New Year’s celebration outside of Asia.
When is Chinese (Lunar) New Year?
Determining the date of the New Year can be complicated, because the traditional Chinese calendar combines elements of the lunar cycle with solar solstices and equinoxes.
The Chinese New Year holiday falls on the new moon closest to the start of spring. If the resulting date falls before January 21, then a “leap month” is inserted, to be sure that the New Year always falls in the range January 21 – February 21.
The Chinese Zodiac
Each year is associated with a type of animal. There are twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig) that repeat in a twelve-year cycle. There is also a separate cycle tied to the months of the Chinese calendar.
The year and month in which a person is born supposedly give specific attributes to the person, based on the characteristics of the zodiac animal.