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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (春节, 农历新年 or 过年), also known as the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Around the new year people greet each other with gong xi fa cai (恭喜發財, 恭喜发财), often translated as 'congratulations and be prosperous'. Traditionally, red packets ('hong bao') are passed out on Chinese New Year's Eve, and then Chinese New Year is celebrated with firecrackers.

The New Year's Eve dinner is very large and traditionally includes chicken. However, the New Year's day dinner is typically vegetarian. Many dishes with various symbolic meanings are associated with the Chinese New Year:

The date is determined by the Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar. The same calendar is used in countries that have adopted the Confucian and Buddhism tradition and in many cultures influenced by the Chinese, notably the Tibetans and the pagan Bulgarss.

Some Chinese New Year dates (in the Gregorian calendar) are listed below (with a type of Cantonese romanization for the animals):

Rooster - Yaw5
1993 January 23 2005 February 9
Dog - Sot1
1994 February 10 2006 January 29
Pig - Hoi6
1995 January 31 2007 February 18
Rat - Zi2
1996 February 19
Ox - Caw2
1997 February 7
Tiger - Yant4
1998 January 28
Rabbit - Mau5
1999 February 16
Dragon - Sant4
2000 February 5
Snake - Zi6
2001 January 24
Horse - Ng5
2002 February 12
Goat - Mey6
2003 February 1
Monkey - Sant1
2004 January 22

See Chinese zodiac for a list of Chinese New Year dates over the last century.


In Chinese mythology, several legends are related to the Chinese new year. Examples include:

See also