The Chinese New Year

Happy Year of the Rabbit


The Chinese New Year is also known as the the Lunar New Year.  The Lunar New Year celebration is an ancient traditional festival known as “Guo Nian.”  It marks  the start of a new year and the beginning of spring according to the Lunar calendar.   The lunar calendar is based on moon cycles.   The holiday was originally a time for honoring household and heavenly gods as well as ancestors.

In 2023, Chinese celebrate the Year of the Rabbitt.  The New Year occurs on January 22.  There are a lot of celebrations, all culminating on February 5 in the Lantern Festival.  The Lantern Festival is the fifteenth and last day of the Chinese New Year festivities.  The streets are decorated with lanterns and people come out into the streets after dark to celebrate and watch traditional dances .

Chinese lanterns

According to one article, there are things you shouldn’t do during the Chinese New Year.   You shouldn’t say anything with a negative meaning.  Also you should not clean or sweep or break glass.  Do not demand repayment of a debt or borrow money.  There are more taboos and you can read the entire list

This holiday has ancient roots back to when China was a agricultural society.  Preparations include a thorough house cleaning to banish “inauspcious” spirits.  People post banners with messages of good fortune and good health and children receive gifts of money.  Celebrations vary in details in the different cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year.   There’s photo of the entrance to Washington DC’s Chinatown.  This is a family celebration and people travel home for family celebrations.

A scene from DC Chinatown on a rainy day