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2021: Year of the Ox


Chinese New Year is approaching quick as other major holidays have come and gone. It is a good time to shine a spotlight on Lunar New Year with some background and quick facts on a festival widely observed throughout Asia.

Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is one of the most important holidays in Asia that includes a fifteen-day festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year of the traditional lunar calendar. It is associated with various myths and customs, and is traditionally observed time honor ancestors and deities.

It is to be noted that there is no set date on the Gregorian calendar. Popularly known as Chinese New Year, the Asian holiday is also known as the Spring Festival. As the cold winter season comes to an end, the festival beings on the first day of the twenty-four solar terms to celebrate a new season for new beginnings. Therefore, the date for Chinese New Year is known based on the lunisolar calendar.

When is Chinese New Year this year?

February 12, 2021

What is the myth behind Chinese New Year?

Every year during the start of Chinese New Year, a beast (Nian) would come out its hiding in the middle of the night to feed on villagers, specifically children. One year, while the villagers hide from the beast, a man volunteered to fight the beast off by hanging red papers around the town and set off firecrackers. Reluctant, the villagers agreed to let the man try his way of defense. When the villagers resurfaced from hiding the next morning, they found that nothing had been destroyed and the strange man’s defense had been successful in scaring the beast away from their village. Every year after that the village would be decorated in the color red (from red scrolls posted on every surface, red lanterns hanging from the ceilings, to red clothing on the villagers’ body), and would have an annual gathering of the lighting up the red fireworks to scare away the beast that once fed on the villagers.

Is Chinese New Year really fifteen days long?

Yes, it really is fifteen days long. Chinese New Year is a festival that takes place on the day of a new moon and ends on a full moon during the Lantern Festival. Each day of the festival is traditionally celebrated for different things.

Day 1 – Celebrate New Year’s Day (do not clean during the celebration or you’re cleaning away the bad luck)

Day 2 – Visit Family and Friends (don’t forget to gift those red envelopes to your loved ones!)

Day 3 – Stay at Home to avoid bad luck coming your way

Day 4 – Worship the Gods by burning incense and lighting candles to welcome the gods with a big meal served at midnight

Day 5 – Festival of Po Wu, where most taboos (ie. cleaning the house or going to work) can be broken

Day 6 – Drive Away the Ghost of Poverty by decluttering and clearing all the old un-used items or clothing in your house

Day 7 – Celebrate Humans by eating healthy to symbolize long life and prosperity

Day 8 – Celebrating Rice, the staple food of Asians

Day 9 – Celebrate the Jade Emperor’s birthday by feasting and offering sacrifices to show honor (commonly sacrificing a live chicken)

Day 10 to 12 – Feast and celebrate with friends and family

Day 13 – Cleanse your body from all the celebratory food you ate by eating healthier on this day

Day 14 – Decorate lanterns for the Lantern Festival

Day 15 – Celebrate the Lantern Festival by sending off specially decorated lanterns into the sky

What is my Chinese Zodiac?

Just like the astrological signs, a Chinese zodiac is determined by the time you were born. The only difference is the Chinese zodiacs are determined by the birth year, and not birth date.

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