Spring Festival is much more than New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! Starting from New Year’s Day, the entire festival actually lasts 15 days – although some people measure it from the Laba Festival (January 2nd) or Xiao Nian (January 17th)!
Read on to find out more information about some of the most important days of the festival and the history and traditions to be aware of, as well as exactly which date they fall on in 2020!
Xiao Nian (小年)
January 17th – Often regarded as the beginning of Spring Festival. People honor the Kitchen God and clean their homes as well as eating dumplings! Sweeping, cleaning, and throwing old things away is a way to say goodbye to the old year. Cleaning in the first few days of the new year can sweep away good fortune, so get it done beforehand!
Lunar New Year’s Day (元旦)
January 25th – A married couple and their children will pay their respects to the husband’s family. On this day it is particularly important not to sweep to avoid sweeping away good luck, and it’s best not to do any cleaning until the 5th day.
2nd Day of Lunar New Year (初二)
January 26th – A married couple and their children will visit the wife’s family (回娘家). Traditionally the wife would have lived with her husband’s family and would rarely have seen her parents.
3rd Day of Lunar New Year – Red Dog Day (初三 / 赤口 / 赤狗日)
January 27th – On this day it is considered unlucky to have guests or visit others. ‘Red Mouth’ or ‘Red Dog’ are euphemisms for the God of Blazing Wrath, so to ensure your safety you shouldn’t go out on that day. One place you could visit is the temple of Cai Shen, god of wealth.
5th Day of Lunar New Year – God of Wealths’ Birthday & Powu (破五)
January 29th – On this day, Northern Chinese eat dumplings as they look like ingots. Powu means ‘broken fifth’ because many rules/taboos surrounding the new year can be broken on this day. Traditionally someone should stay at home in case Cai Shen visits, but most businesses re-open on this day.
7th Day of Lunar New Year – Human’s Birthday (人日)
January 31st – In the Chinese creation myth, Nvwa (goddess of creation) became lonely, and so for company she created a different animal every day. She created people out of the yellow earth on the 7th day. So even now, this is the day when all Chinese people get one year older. This is why people often have two ages, the one they tell you (according to the lunar calendar) and the one on their ID card (Gregorian calendar).
9th Day of Lunar New Year – Jade Emperor’s Birthday (天公旦)
February 2nd – In an alternate creation myth it was Yu Huang (aka Yu Di) who created people. As one of the highest gods in the Daoist pantheon, today is a day for Daoists to visit temples and offer up prayers in his honour.
15th Day of Lunar New Year – Lantern Festival (元宵节)
February 8th – The final day of Spring Festival falls on the first full moon of the new year. It is celebrated by lighting lanterns, going to public lantern displays and eating yuanxiao (aka tangyuan), hence the Chinese name of this festival. Families come together for the last big family dinner of the festival, and yuanxiao are eaten for two reasons: they represent family unity and also the full moon. Look out for our full article with lots more information on the Lantern Festival nearer the time!
And there you go! So many interesting days to note during the Spring Festival! Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Which days will you be observing? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. We always love hearing from you!
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