Chinese New Year 2019 takes place on Tuesday 5th February, as part of the week-long Spring Festival. New Year’s Day takes place on a different date every year – because it follows the Lunar calendar.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. There are 12 different animals in the Chinese zodiac, each said to have their own personality, stories and superstitions.
Chinese New Year traditions
There are loads of cool traditions and interesting Chinese New Year facts – from tasty foods and fireworks displays to ancient myths and awesome gifts. Here are 5 of our faves:
More fireworks are set off on Chinese New Year than any other day of the year worldwide. Just like in the west, you can expect huge, colourful displays to start the new year with a bang (or lots of bangs)!
Fun fact: The practice of setting off fireworks was originally meant to drive off evil and scare away monsters.
Delicious doughy dumplings are traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year because they look like nuggets of gold!
A cocoon of delectable dough envelops a meat filling (usually minced pork) and chopped veg. Dip it in your preferred sauce for a sumptuous snack that goes with any meal.
Fun fact: Dumplings are mostly eaten in northern China – in the south, preferred Chinese New Year foods include spring rolls and ‘Nian gao’ – sweet and sticky rice cakes.
Wine, wine and more wine
The Chinese celebrate the New Year by drinking lots of wine – which is something we can all get behind. Everyone in the family will probably have at least a sip – even the youngsters!
Fun Fact: There are special wines just for New Year, like ‘Tusu’ – which was originally a medicine and ensures good health for the coming year.
A red-letter day
Children will often be given red envelopes or packets filled with cash on New Year’s Day. Giving a red envelope is considered good luck and the gifts can be very generous.
It’s not just for kids though – you can give gifts to family members, friends and employees too.
Fun Fact: The colour red is especially important during New Year, signifying good luck and protecting you against illness and evil spirits. If it’s your zodiac year, you may even wear red undies every single day of the year!
No showering? Ewww
One of the quirkier traditions is that many people won’t bathe and won’t wash their hair on New Year’s Day – in case they wash their fortune away. If you decide to try this tradition, consider cancelling your gym session!
Fun Fact: There are a load of traditions surrounding both the New Year and the Spring Festival that involving cleaning – be careful not to sweep your luck away!
What’s your Chinese Zodiac Sign?
Twelve animals make up the Chinese Zodiac and each year corresponds to one of the animals. 2019 is the year of the Pig.
The story behind the zodiac says that the Jade Emperor chose 12 animals to serve as his royal guards and the animals fought and raced to be first in line – deciding the order of the zodiac.
So, which of the Chinese New Year animals are you?
You are the Rat if you were born in:
1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.
Quick-witted, creative, optimistic and energetic. Though sometimes prone to hoarding money or objects that others may consider worthless, they’re liked by everyone.
You are the Ox if you were born in:
1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009.
Reliable, honest and hard working. They prefer to get on with things, seeking neither praise, nor attention. Sometimes their talents are hidden by their humility, but their hard work and level-headedness will bring them the success they deserve.
You are the Tiger if you were born in:
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010.
Brave and adventurous, the tiger will face challenges head on regardless of the risk. Full of energy and emotion, they can be difficult to control – but they will never give up when confronted with a problem.
You are the Rabbit if you were born in:
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011.
Kind and polite, the rabbit treats everyone with courtesy and expects the same back. Sometimes mistaken for weak, they are quietly confident, with hidden reserves of strength.
You are the Dragon if you were born in:
1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012.
Fiercely independent and strong, they often make great leaders and entrepreneurs. Though they can survive alone due to their independence, they still crave love and support.
You are the Snake if you were born in:
1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013.
Intelligent and witty, the snake is a deep thinker who avoids gossip and pointless chatter. Though calm under pressure, the snake sometimes bottles their emotions too tightly.
You are the Snake if you were born in:
1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014.
Energetic and free-spirited, the horse chases their dreams. Unconcerned by money or fame, they seek only happiness. They can be frustrated by those who don’t think the same way or try to rein them in.
You are the Goat if you were born in:
1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015.
Though generous and loving, the Goat is known for their determination and perseverance. When confronting a problem, they will consider every detail before acting and they are just as attentive in their relationships.
You are the Monkey if you were born in:
1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.
Talented and intelligent, the monkey can achieve anything they set their mind to. This can lead to arrogance or competitiveness – but if they can take a step back and engage their sense of humour, the sky’s the limit.
You are the Rooster if you were born in:
1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017.
Strong and decisive, the rooster can get into arguments because of their willingness to criticize and their own tempestuous temper. Deep down, they yearn for validation from their family and loved ones.
You are the Dog if you were born in:
1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.
Defined by their loyalty, the Dog gives everything for their friends, family and colleagues. Their honesty and willingness to help others means they are always popular. Their outgoing nature can hide their own anxieties, but they don’t let it hold them back.
You are the Pig if you were born in:
1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019.
Calm and good natured, the Pig is a gentle spirit who remains optimistic even when faced by tasks others might consider boring. They can be a little materialistic, but they are honest about the things they enjoy in life – favouring action over words.