Chinese New Year I Oxford Open Learning

    Chinese New Year

    Chinese New Year

    For many people, New Year has just finished… but millions of others across the world will soon be celebrating Chinese New Year. You may be aware that in 2023, Chinese New Year falls on 22nd January (the date changes each year, depending on the cycle of the moon). You might also know that 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. But what else do you know about this fascinating time of year? Read on to find out more…

    A Time For Family Reunions, Fun And Fresh Starts

    Chinese New Year is a time for festive family gatherings – when millions of people travel to be with each other, in what’s possibly the largest annual human migration – and rest, relaxation, eating specially-prepared food, fireworks, parades. It’s also about preparing for the year ahead, hoping for good fortune and reflecting on the importance of family, friends and community. Immediately prior to the New Year there is also the Little Year, a time of preparation for the main celebration, and this runs from 14th to 21st January.

    Chinese New Year Lasts Longer Than You May Think

    Chinese New Year itself is a 16-day celebration from 22nd January until 5th February (although only the first seven days are public holidays). 22nd January marks the beginning of the Spring Festival, which lasts 11 days, with each day celebrating a different tradition, including the Day of the Human, Stone Festival, and Son-in-Law Day. Then preparations begin for a Lantern Festival, which takes place on 5th February.

    You’ll notice the colour red playing a particularly significant part in the festivities. Red traditionally stands for good luck, happiness, and vitality, and it is even believed to ward off evil spirits. Homes are decorated in red, new red clothes are worn, and money in red envelopes is gifted to children, friends and family.

    2023 Is The Year Of The Rabbit: What Does This Mean?

    China has its own calendar, based on the Lunar calendar. Each year is linked to a different animal, in a twelve-year cycle. It is thought that your personality relates to the animal sign of your birth year. The rabbit is the fourth animal in the Chinese zodiac. According to an ancient legend, it was decreed that the animals would be placed in the zodiac according to the order in which they arrived at a party given by the Jade Emperor (the highest Chinese deity). The rabbit, who was very proud of his speed, arrived first, and decided to take a nap to fill the time until the other animals arrived. On waking, the rabbit discovered that three other animals had arrived and had been placed in the zodiac before him; the rabbit had to be content with fourth place. The rabbit is believed to symbolise luck, long life, the moon, elegance, peace, and mercy. People born under the sign of the rabbit – that’s those people born in 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, or 1927 – are supposedly kind, sociable, and generous.

    For more information about the Year of the Rabbit, and the other signs in the Chinese zodiac, try

    Next year is the Year of the Dragon! To learn even more about Chinese New Year, you can also take a look at the Encyclopedia Britannica’s website by clicking here.

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