A Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year in Mainland China

Chinese lanterns hang during the Chinese New Year event in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of China.
••• Afton Almaraz/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Introduction

Just what is Chinese New Year? There's actually a lot more to it than lion dances and firecrackers, although these two pieces of tradition are integral and more visible, Chinese New Year to China is like Christmas to the West. In essence, Chinese New Year is spending time with family, gift giving and, the all important, food-fest.

When is Chinese New Year this year?

The upcoming Chinese New Year falls on February 8, 2016, when we'll be ringing in the Year of the Monkey.

Traditions & Events

Here's an index of links to articles about the traditions and events that surround Chinese New Year in China:

Historical Information

Chinese people have been celebrating the "Spring Festival" for centuries. The festivities include a final celebration called the Lantern Festival. Read more below to understand the origin of these traditional celebrations.

Chinese Zodiac

Here is information on the Chinese Lunar Calendar as well as an index to the Chinese Zodiac Signs and their associated characteristics.

The Lunar Calendar & Chinese Zodiac

The Twelve Animal Signs

  • Year of the Rat
  • Year of the Ox
  • Year of the Tiger
  • Year of the Rabbit
  • Year of the Dragon
  • Year of the Snake
  • Year of the Horse
  • Year of the Sheep
  • Year of the Monkey
  • Year of the Rooster
  • Year of the Dog
  • Year of the Boar

Traveling During Chinese New Year

This is a big concern for visitors to China.

Should I come to China during Chinese New Year? Will everything be closed? What's the weather like at that time of year. Here are a few articles that will help you understand what travel is like during the holiday season, ideas on places to go as well as what the weather is like throughout the country.

Chinese New Year Food

Here are some wonderful articles about what is traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year from our expert on Chinese cuisine:

  • Symbolic Chinese Food and Recipes
  • Chinese New Year Menus
  • Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese New Year Around the Globe

The Chinese diaspora has brought Chinese people to settle throughout the world. Even if you aren't going to be anywhere near the country, you can likely take part in Chinese New Year festivities closer to home. See below to find out what's happening in your part of the globe.