The Chinese New Year: History & Celebrations

The Chinese New Year 2020

The history of the Chinese New Year dates back to China’s ancient agrarian society. The date is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the year 2020 is the Year of the Rat. The Chinese New Year in 2020 will be celebrated between the 25th of January and 4th of February.

Originally, the Chinese New Year was celebrated in China. In time, smaller communities formed from immigrants, but not only, come together all over the world and celebrate the New Year. So, in big cities such as New York, London, Paris, Bangkok big crowds gather in the street to watch and enjoy the special events taking place during this time of the year.

The Chinese New Year: History & Celebrations

Highlights of The Chinese New Year

Setting off the fireworks. First, the Chinese New Year celebrations begin by setting off smaller firecrackers, followed by three big firecrackers. These are the sounding out and sounding in of the new year. The more powerful and loud the fireworks sound, the better and luckier the new year will be.

Then, the Lantern Festival takes place. This ends the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year’s Festival). This means that all the taboos about the New Year will no longer be in effect and all the decorations will be taken down.

The Chinese New Year: History & Celebrations

And finally, the ultimate highlight of the Chinese New Year celebrations: the Dragon dance. The dragon dance is a tradition from the Chinese culture and it is believed to scare away bad luck and evil spirits. For the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, young boys carry a long, colorful dragon made of silk, paper and bamboo. They dance on the streets to bring good fortune.

The Chinese New Year: History & Celebrations

The History of the Chinese New Year

According to the legend, in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to go meet him on the Chinese New Year. Only twelve came so Buddha named a year after each. Then, he announced that the people born in those years will have some of that animal’s characteristics.

The Chinese celebrate the New Year through the festival to wish for a lucky, prosperous coming year. But it is also an opportunity to feast with the family the year that is left behind. They believe that a good start of the year will lead to a lucky year.

Traditionally, people gather for a dinner reunion with the family. During the dinner, they eat “lucky food” and give away red envelopes with “lucky money”. People decorate their house red and dress in red on New Year’s Eve to be lucky all year.

In addition, red decorations are being put on the streets, because red is believed to be auspicious. Fireworks are believed to drive away bad spirits so they are also set off. Long ago, people would lit up bamboo stalks to scare the evil.

The Chinese New Year: History & Celebrations

Tours and activities


This 2-day tour is perfect for first-time visitors. You will see the best of Beijing and you will go on a day trip to the Great Wall.

2-Day Combo Package: Beijing City Tour and Great Wall at Mutianyu w/Lunch


On this full-day tour, you will explore Shanghai’s highlights such as the Shanghai Museum, the Jade Buddha Temple, the Yuyuan Garden and the Bund.

Hong Kong

Learn about Hong Kong’s rich history while you explore the city’s highlights, such as the Possession Point, the Fringe Club and the Blooming Bauhinia Sculpture.

Small-Group Historical Walking Tour of Hong Kong

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