Chinese New Year is also called Lunar New Year.

The date varies each year because it marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, during the second moon after the winter solstice and before the lunar phase of spring equinox. It always takes place between January 21 and February 19. By convention, the date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing. In China, the New Year celebrations correspond to the longest vacation period and mark the beginning of the festivities which end fifteen days later with the Lantern Festival. These festivities are also called Spring Festival.

One month before the beginning of the festivities, red lanterns are hung in the streets and the doors of the houses are decorated with duilan, calligraphies on red fabric strips. Red is omnipresent because it symbolizes Happiness and Luck.

New Year’s Eve is a time for family gatherings and the meal is the most important meal of the year. The dishes served are chosen according to their lucky symbolism. The fish Yù is omnipresent because the sound of the word is close to that of the word abundance. The fish appears on the table to bring prosperity, the Chinese ravioli for wealth, the noodles for longevity and the Niángāo glutinous rice cake to bring a better social position. The guests stay up until the stroke of midnight to light firecrackers in order to scare away the evil spirits and to frighten away Nian, the New Year’s demon. After the meal, the children present their wishes to the family and receive red and gold envelopes containing money to wish them wealth and success for the coming year.

From the first day of the year, traditional dragon dance performances are held. The festivities continue for two weeks and end with the Lantern Festival, Yuánxiao jié. The main meal on this day is Tangyuan, a soup made of glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with sweet dough, symbolizing family reunion and fulfillment.

On February 1, 2022, the year of the Tiger and its element Water will begin. According to the Chinese horoscope, the Tiger is synonymous with tension, change and the unexpected, but Water is a symbol of temperance. The year of the Tiger will end on January 21, 2023 to give way to that of the Water Hare.

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