Three Fast Facts on Chinese New Year

January ushers in the traditional Western New Year and February the Chinese New Year. In 2021, Chinese New Year begins on February 12th. You will find the biggest observances in countries and territories including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and even Mauritius! However, any country with a significant Chinese community will hold regional celebrations. Start your year off “in the know” with these three fast facts on Chinese New Year or Spring Festival as it is commonly known:

1.  Calm, cool, and collected!

Chinese New Year 2021 will mark the beginning of the year of the Ox, which is the second sign in the Chinese zodiac. If the Ox is your sign (you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009), you’re likely highly valued. Chinese astrology says that the second sign of the Zodiac signifies hard work and honesty. 

2.  Timing Matters

Chinese New Year takes place on February 12th – February 26th this year. But, that’s not the whole story. Typically, families come together for a special “reunion dinner” on New Year’s Eve (February 11th) to kick off the holiday period. And the Spring Festival period officially ends with the Lantern Festival on February 26th, marking the first full moon night on the Chinese calendar.

3.  Happiness Wrapped in Red

While gifting money in red envelopes is not a custom restricted to Chinese New Year, it is definitely the most popular time for it. These money-filled red envelopes (always use new money bills!) are known as hongbao in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese. They are traditionally given to children, employees, and elders. If this feels old-fashioned, don’t worry, there’s an app for it. According to this article, in 2017 over 46 billion red envelopes were sent via China’s popular messaging app WeChat!

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