Xin Nian Kuai Le – that’s Happy New Year in Mandarin! That’s because it’s Chinese New Year, people! So whether you’re Chinese or not, there are loads of ways to celebrate and immerse yourself in a different culture, at home or away…after all, who needs an excuse to party?!
So, when is Chinese New Year and what does it mean? Well, we’ve explained this bright and colourful festival below and suggested ways to celebrate wherever you are. You’re welcome *smug face*!
When is Chinese New Year?
As the Chinese calendar works on a lunar basis, the date of Chinese New Year varies each year. It usually falls between the 21st January and 20th February – this year, it’s on Friday 16th February!
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
It’s a visual festival all about light, sound and incredible traditional dances! On New Year’s Eve, families will gather together for a big feast and clean the house in order to sweep away bad luck in time for the coming year. Then it’s party time! Red is the colour of happiness and good luck in China, so you will see it used in traditional costumes, decorations and pretty lanterns lining the streets.
Traditionally, red envelopes filled with money and good wishes were given to children from relatives. Nowadays, many kids have mobile apps which family can deposit money into, digitally. (Anyone else need one of those right now?!).
Dancers dress up in glamorous dragon and lion costumes and perform traditional dazzling dances that are believed to bring good luck. The celebrations last for over two weeks and many Chinese people take a week of holiday to truly celebrate!
Why is 2018 the Year of the Dog?
The Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year in that cycle represented by an animal. 2018 will be the year of the Earth Dog. It’s believed that the animal of your birth year can determine a lot about your character and even your lucky colours and numbers. For example, anyone born in an Earth Dog year will be communicative, serious and responsible at work.
Sound like you? Check out what zodiac animal you are!
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
- Pig: 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959
How you can celebrate
Other than getting your relatives to deposit money into your red envelope app (after all, if you had more phone credit you could call them more… right?), there are loads of ways to celebrate. Why not try cooking a traditional Chinese recipe, like dumplings or spring rolls, (see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/occasions/chinese_new_year) or heading to a local parade? Chinatown, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square in London always put on a fantastic display. Tip: make sure you get down there early to bag a good spot!
Wish your friends and family back home a Happy Chinese New Year by giving them a call, a text or Whatsapping them a dragon emoji (you’ve been waiting for an excuse to use that since Game of Thrones ended, haven’t you). Thanks to Lebara’s cheap international calls and free SIM card, it’s all possible!