Learn some Chinese New Year Facts For Kids of all ages! We're sharing the holiday's history along with some other fun trivia questions and interesting facts.
These Chinese New Year Facts For Kids are a great way to understand the history of the Chinese New Year as well as share some Chinese new year traditions, Chinese new year food, and how to celebrate Chinese new year with friends and family over the holiday!
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is a celebration starting on the first day of the Chinese Calendar. The celebration lasted 15 days. It is also known as the Lunar New Year.
Chinese New Year is celebrated not only by the Chinese in China but many Asian countries as well as by Chinese communities in different Chinatowns throughout the world.
The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in Chinese culture.
When is Chinese New Year?
The first day of the Chinese New Year does not fall on the same day of the year as the Gregorian Calendar New Year's Day of January 1st. The Chinese Calendar or the Lunar Calendar varies yearly but typically occurs in late January or early February.
Here are the Chinese New Year dates for the start of the new year over the next five years.
- January 22, 2023
- February 10, 2024
- January 29, 2025
- February 17, 2026
- February 7, 2027
The first day of the lunar calendar is based on the first lunar phase or new moon of a new year.
Chinese New Year History
The Chinese New Year has been celebrated in China for over 3500 years. It was initially a ceremonial day to celebrate the beginning of Spring and a wish for good farming and harvest.
There are many stories and myths surrounding Chinese New Year, and the most popular was about the mythical beast Nian. Nian is believed to have a head like a lion and lived under the sea. The beast would come ashore on the last day of the year and eat the livestock, and crops, and terrorize the people.
It is believed that an old man found out that loud noises and the color red scared away Nian. The villagers would then dress up in a costume made of bamboo, paper, and cloth (usually with two people inside of it). They would dance around and beat a drum and gongs and set off firecrackers. This would scare away Nian.
Many celebrations to date include the lion dances and dragon dances as well as firecrackers and red lanterns. The most important piece of Chinese New Year includes family gatherings and family reunions in the new year.
Chinese New Year Zodiac
The Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar Calendar which is based on the moon's cycle. The moon's cycle repeats itself every 12 years. The Chinese Zodiac assigns an animal to each of the 12 years. It is believed that the person born that year will have the personality traits of the animal assigned to that year.
In order to assign the animals to each of the years it was believed that the 12 animals had a race to cross the river. The myth has it that the hard-working Ox was in the lead until the clever rat jumped on the Ox's back without the Ox knowing. Right at the last moment, the rat jumped off the Ox and crossed the line first making the rat the first of the zodiac animals.
There are 12 animals in order of their race finish - Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Chinese New Year Facts
There are lots of great Chinese New Year Facts for Kids as well as the Chinese New Year Celebrations. Here are some fun ones.
- The Chinese New Year is often referred to as the Spring Festival.
- Gong Xi Fa Cai is a common saying the Chinese use over the Chinese New Year which means "Wish you enlarge your wealth"
- Starting in 1990, the people of China were given seven days off of work to celebrate the New Year known as "Golden Week".
- A sixth to a quarter of the world's population celebrates Chinese New Year
- The Chinese New Year celebration's last day is the Lantern Festival. The streets are lined with colorful lanterns with riddles written on them.
- The dragon represents good fortune, prosperity, and good luck.
- Firecrackers and fireworks are considered good luck as well as scare off any evil spirits.
- San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade claims to be the biggest celebration outside of Asia.
Chinese New Year Traditions
There are many Chinese traditions around the Chinese New Year festival. Here are some of the traditions.
- Watching Lion and Dragon Dances are common throughout the Chinese New Year and a big part of the traditional ceremonies.
- The color red is considered lucky and homes are often decorated with red lanterns, and red decorations, as well as many of the clothes worn throughout the most important holiday.
- It is considered by some to be bad luck to use fire, a knife, or a broom on the first day of the New Year. It is considered washing away, cutting away the good luck of the year.
- Gifts of red envelopes symbolize prosperity and happiness and families often give each other gifts each Chinese New Year.
- Gifts should be given in pairs and even numbers. Uneven numbered gifts are considered back luck.
- Black and white and dark colors are considered unlucky. They should not be worn or be the color of any of the gifts given during the New Year.
Chinese New Year Food
Chinese New Year is about bringing families together. A reunion dinner is typically eaten on New Year's Eve. There are foods that are typically eaten for luck and prosperity and to welcome those into the new year.
While there are foods that are said to bring prosperity and good luck for the upcoming year, they can vary by country and region. The food, the way it is prepared as well as the name can all hold symbolism in the Chinese New Year. These all can vary from family to family.
Here are some lucky food during the Chinese New Year.
Nian Gao (Sweet Glutinous Rice Cakes)
These are also known as "New Year Cake" or "Year Cake". The word "nian" translates to "year" and is a dense rice flour cake that can be both sweet and savory.
Which is pronounced "yú" and sounds the same as "leftovers" or "surplus". The whole fish is to make sure that there is a surplus in the new year with lots of leftovers.
Dumplings resemble "the ingot" which was a coin from ancient times and therefore is believed to bring wealth in the new year. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat, the more money you will make in the new year.
Serving the whole chicken symbolizes unity and family. They are typically served at the Reunion Dinner to bring "wholeness" to the reunited family members.
They got their names from typically being eaten during the Spring Festival. Spring rolls are believed to bring wealth because of their gold color. They are popular in East China, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Typically served as very long thin noodles. They are believed to bring happiness and a long life!
Tangerines and Oranges
The most typical fruit served for Chinese New Year. They are considered lucky. The word for tangerine is"chéng" which sounds the same as a word that means good fortune. They are often given as gifts and eaten at the end of the dinner.
Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Balls)
Tangyuans are glutinous rice balls. The sweet treats are typically served on the last day of the festival during the Lantern Festival. They are associated with reunion and being together as a family.
Chinese New Year Animal
Each year based there is an animal based on the Chinese Zodiac. While the ancient zodiac wasn't based on real animals, the Chinese people believe that personalities and compatibility with others are based on the zodiac.
Below are the animals and the years they represent over the next 12 years.
- Rabbit - 2023 is the year of the rabbit
- Dragon - 2024 is the year of the dragon
- Snake - 2025 is the year of the snake
- Horse - 2026 is the year of the horse
- Goat - 2027 is the year of the goat
- Monkey - 2028 is the year of the monkey
- Rooster - 2029 is the year of the rooster
- Dog - 2030 is the year of the dog
- Pig - 2031 is the year of the pig
- Rat - 2032 is the year of the rat
- Ox - 2033 is the year of the ox
- Tiger - 2034 is the year of the tiger
Grab all 12 of our fun Chinese New Year Animal Coloring Pages!
Chinese New Year For Kids
Chinese New Year is a fun time to spend with family and friends and celebrate the Chinese Lunar new year. We have many activities that will be fun to celebrate Chinese New year but especially for kids. Check out these Chinese New Year activities!
We have a number of fun Chinese New Year Crafts for kids of all ages! Have a Happy Chinese New Year with these fun crafts.
We have lots of free Chinese New Year printables full of hours' worth of celebration fun!
Have some coloring page fun this Chinese New Year with lots of fun coloring pages.
Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year!
Grab All 12 Animals Chinese New Year Coloring Pages
Download Free Chinese New Year Facts For Kids Infographic
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