Chinese New Year, Spring Festival (Chunjie) 

Written by Apple Updated Feb. 9, 2023

Chinese New Year 2023 or Spring Festival (Chun Jie), falls on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023, starting the Year of the Rabbit.  The New Year/ Spring Festival holiday will be from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27 in 2023.

Chinese Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year is the most important festival in China.  There are lots of traditions, celebrations, and superstitions associated with the festival.

Chinese New Year is a time to:

Chinese New Year 2023 Holiday

The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar.  The Chinese New Year date is different every year, but it is almost in January or February. 

Chinese New Year 2023 Calendar

It is a public holiday in China. In 2023, Chinese people get 7 days off from work, from Jan 21 to 27. Click Chinese New Year Dates to learn when the Chinese start their Chinese New Year holidays every year.

Lunar New Year 2023 Animal  - Year of the Rabbit

Chinese Zodiac Years

Every Chinese New Year starts with an animal sign. According to the Chinese zodiac circle, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. Other years of the Rabbit include 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011.

There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each year is associated with an animal with its attributes. 

How to Celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival - Traditions & Activities

Chinese New Year Day-by-Day Celebrations

Chinese people celebrate the festival with many traditional activities with the hope of a happy and prosperous next year. Top celebrations include:

1. House Cleaning and Decorating with Red Color

Whether in the city or in the countryside, people give their houses a thorough cleaning about half a month before the Spring Festival. Chinese people believe that cleaning the house before the new year would sweep away the bad luck of the last year and prepare their homes to receive good luck.

In the meantime, people decorate their houses with red color. Because red is the luckiest color in Chinese culture. The red color is believed to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck. So when the festival is coming, Chinese people hang red lanterns in front of their houses and paste red couplets on their doors.

Also read How to Decorate for Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year 2022 decorations

2. Having Family Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve

Chinese New Year is a time for a family reunion. The most important activity on Chinese New Year's eve is having a family reunion dinner. This reunion dinner is regarded as the most important meal of the entire year, and it is also a good opportunity for the whole family to get together, particularly when some members live away from their hometown.

Dishes at this reunion dinner are plentiful, and some of them have the symbol of lucky meanings. Food with lucky symbolic meanings is eaten during the festival. It is believed that eating lucky food will bring prosperity for the next year. On New Year's eve, dishes such as fish, chicken, Chinese dumplings, etc are served at every Chinese family's dinner.

Chinese New Year 2022 decorations

3. Staying Up Late

Staying up late to welcome the new year's arrival on Chinese New Year's Eve is a very old tradition. After the reunion dinner, all family members sit together, chatting, singing, laughing, or playing cards, and stay up late until midnight. 

Staying up late is said to bring longevity to people's parents. According to traditional Chinese customs, staying up on Chinese New Year’s Eve brings longevity to parents. The longer you can stay awake, the longer your parents will live.

4. Giving Red Envelopes with Best Wishes

A red envelope containing lucky money symbolizes luck and wealth. Red envelopes with lucky money are usually given to the children as a gift on Chinese New Year's eve. People believe that giving red envelopes to kids can keep the children safe and bring them good luck.

Since 2023 is the Year of Rabbit. The rabbit red envelopes must be the most popular. Learn more on how to give red envelopes.

5. Setting Off Fireworks

Fireworks are set off as the New Year arrives. It is believed the loud fireworks can drive the evil spirits away and bring good luck to the family. Although many cities have banned fireworks, this tradition keeps in the countryside. 

The infographic below shows how Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year day-by-day. Click Chinese New Year Day-by-Day Celebrations for more details.

6. Enjoying Lion Dances

Chinese lion dances are traditional dances performed on big occasions such as the Chinese New Year and other traditional festivals to bring prosperity and good fortune. It is also a way to create a festive atmosphere and bring happiness. 

7. The Lantern Festival - the end of the Chinese New Year Festival

The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, and it falls on Feb. 5th in the year 2023. 

In Chinese culture, as one of the most recreational among all festivals, the lantern festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year Festival. All the new year celebrations stop from this day, and the new year taboos are no longer in effect. 

Chinese New Year 2022 decorations

The celebrations in the Lantern Festival include lighting colorful lanterns, enjoying a family reunite dinner, and eating tang yuan, glutinous rice balls stuffed with sesame, peanut, and bean paste.

Read more on Top Chinese New Year Traditions

Top Lucky Chinese New Year Food

Certain food is eaten during the Spring Festival for its lucky symbolic meanings. It is believed that eating lucky food will bring a happy and prosperous next year. 

Fish is must eaten as it is considered a symbol of abundance in Chinese culture. Chinese Dumplings, signs of prosperity, are also a must for the festival. The most popular snake for the Chinese New Year is Nian Gao (Chinese New Year Cake), which symbolizes advancement and increased prosperity.

 Click Chinese New Year Dishes to know more lucky festive dishes!

Festival Superstitions - Things You Should Not Do

People believe the start of the year affects the whole year, so the Spring Festival is a season of superstitions. There are many unlucky things you should not do as doing these things always means you will have bad luck for the coming year. 

 To avoid bad luck, you should not:

Things you should not do during Chinese New Year

How to Say Happy Chinese New Year 2023?

The Chinese New Year 2023 is coming. How to wish your friends a happy new year. Here are the three most popular ways to say "Happy Chinese New Year" in Chinese and Cantonese. 

English Chinese Characters In Mandarin In Cantonese
Happy New Year! 新年快乐! /sshin nyen kwhy ler/ (xīn nián kuài lè) /sen nin feye lor/ (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6)
新年好! /sshin nyen haoww/ (xīn nián hǎo) /sen nin haow/ (san1 nin4 hou2)
过年好! /gwor nyen haoww/ (guò nián hǎo) /gwor nin haow/ (gwo3 nin4 hou2)
Happy New Year 2023! 兔年快乐! /too nyen kwhy ler/ (tù nián kuài lè) /tou nyen kwhy ler/ (tu4 nian2 faai3 lok6)
兔年大吉! /too nyen da ji/ (tù nián dà jí) /tou nin da ji/ (tou3 nin4 daai6 gat1)

Read more Popular New Year Wishes and Greetings for 2023, and How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese and Cantonese.

Chinese New Year Greeting Card
Happy Chinese New Year 2023, Happy Chinese Spring Festival 2023

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