What is Chinese New Year?

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is an annual event celebrated by millions of people around the world. CNY is based on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, which means that each year the New Year falls on a different date each year. Normally, the celebration will start from the New Year's Eve and will last for around 15 days until the middle of the first month.



  • Cleaning the house: That's right, a few days before the New Year, expect to be told to get the duster out. Cleaning the house from top to bottom is widely done to get rid of evil spirits.
  • Decorations: this a tradition that is followed not just in the houses, but on the streets, in offices and businesses, and public places. Lanterns and red decorations are put up and as it is the Year of the Monkey, expect monkey dolls and pictures to also be used in the decorations. 
  • Family meal: One tradition which transcends all religious and cultural celebrations is the family reunion dinner. On New Year's Eve, family members and relatives will all come together to enjoy lots of food and wish each other peace and success for the coming Year.
  • Fireworks: Before midnight, small firecrackers are set off, whilst during and after the midnight celebrations, larger fireworks are set off, to drive away evil spirits in time for the New Year.
  • Shou Sui: Another custom during the Chinese New Year is Shou Sui or the dinner after New Year's Eve. This requires the family members to stay awake after midnight.
  •  Red envelopes: parents or grandparents giving monetary gifts placed inside red envelopes or packets to children and teens. shared the reason behind this tradition. "It was believed that the money in the red packet will suppress the evil from the children, keep them healthy, and give them a long life."


Chinese New Year in the UK

With such a large Chinese student population, most, if not all UK universities will hold some form of event or festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Check out the Student Union or the University's International Society for details of events.

Most big cities, including Manchester (UKEC's HQ) and London also hold large Chinese New Year Parades, featuring a dragon, many local community organisations and activities for families and children. Take part in one by searching online for your local governmental website which will detail information such as the venue and participants of the parade. 

Have a read of the Budget Chinese New Year celebrations article here for more ideas: Budget New Year 2016