2021 is the year of the Ox: the second in the 12 year cycle, it is believed to be a time of honesty, positivity, stability and nourishment. People born this year are said to be diligent, dependent and steadfast.
Observing the start of the New Year according to the traditional calendar, Chinese New Year is a holiday that is celebrated around the world but predominantly originates in Asian countries. Also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, it is a celebration based on the phases of the moon. Discover more about this festival, including where and when it is observed and some of the most popular ways to celebrate it. We have also included Chinese new year messages, happy Chinese new year greetings and traditional messages.
- Where and when is Chinese New Year?
- 5 Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year
- When to send your Chinese New Year card?
Where and when is Chinese New Year?
One in five of the world’s population are Chinese, and this festival is one of the most widely celebrated on the planet. However, while Lunar New Year is often predominantly associated with China, many cities have similar spring festival celebrations. For example, the Losar of Tibet, the Korean New Year, and the Tết of Vietnam
Each year, the Chinese New Year celebration begins on the new moon that occurs between January 21 and February 20 (according to Western calendars). This means that this year, the 15 day festival starts on Friday February 12th.
Below you can find the dates and animals for New Year for the next three years:
|2022: Year of the tiger||February 1st|
|2023: Year of the rabbit||January 22nd|
|2024: Year of the dragon||February 10th|
|2025: Year of the snake||January 29th|
5 Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year
There are many ways of celebrating the Lunar New Year, with some traditions being passed on for thousands of years. Some of our favourite ways to celebrate the holiday include:
- Prepare the House
Prior to the festivities, the day before the Spring Festival is often dedicated to cleaning; to sweep out the old year and welcome prosperity into the new. Clear out the clutter and treat yourself to some new clothes, preferably in red for good fortune. You can also decorate your home, with red paper decorations often used on windows and doors. However, there should be no cleaning once the festival starts. Cleaning of any kind is forbidden on the first day of the festival, and this even includes no showering and washing the dishes. Whereas, sweeping and throwing out the trash is not permitted before the 5th.
- Attend a Festival
In many places around the world, Chinese New Year is celebrated with parades, dances and festivals. This often includes the Chinese dragon, which is symbolic of good fortune. This year, festivals may not be quite the same, depending on your current county. However there are a range of virtual festivals available on line and there are still lots of opportunities to embrace the spirit of lunar new year via technology.
- Gifting Red Packets
Red packets or red envelopes are a popular gift at this time of year. Known as hong bao in Mandarin or lai se in Cantonese, these red packets are believed to bestow blessings on the recipient. The giving of red packets is embedded in Chinese legend, and it is premised upon the belief that they can protect children from the demon, Sui. There are many traditions and superstitions associated with this symbolic gesture. For example, you should gift a rounded number or one that ends in 8 and you should not give an amount with a 4 in it or include any coins.
- Feast with the Family
This holiday is about spending time with the family and most people go back to their hometown for New Year’s Eve dinner. This spring migration, or chunyun (春运), is actually the largest annual human migration in the world, with 2.9 billion passenger journeys being made at that time. When it comes to the feast, different countries and regions have different traditional foods for celebrating lunar New Year. For example, in the north of China, the holiday would not be complete without delicious dumplings. Alternately, in Korea, tteokguk is a rice cake soup that is a must-eat at this time of year.
It is said that more fireworks are set off in the entire world on Chinese New Year compared with any other night of the year. The celebration dates back to the Shang Dynasty in 14th Century BC, and is believed that the use of firecrackers kept the man-eating demon Nian from destroying the village. Fireworks are set off at different points during the festival; ending on the first full moon of the lunar year with the Lantern Festival.
What to write on your Chinese New Year card?
If you are struggling to figure out what Chinese New Year message to include in your card, we have lots of different options available. Messages in Lunar New Year cards do tend to be a little formal but feel free to add your own personal touches. However, it should be noted that it is not quite the same as sending cards for other holidays, and there are definitely some words or phrases that are considered not to be appropriate or are believed to be bad luck.
Traditional Chinese New Year messages
Some of the most popular traditional Chinese New Year greetings include:
#1 Happy Spring Festival
#2 Happy Chinese New Year
(xīn nián kuài lè/ sun nin fai lok)
#3 Happy New Year and we wish your family happiness.
(xīn nián kuài lè, hé jiā xìng fú)
#4 Wishing you wealth and prosperity!
(gōng xǐ fā cái)
Happy Chinese New Year Greetings in English
If you prefer to write your Chinese New Year messages in English, you could include phrases such as:
- Hope the New Year brings health, wealth and prosperity!
- May you come into a good fortune in the Year of the Ox!
- I wish you a prosperous new year from my family to yours.
- Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true.
- May the Year of the Ox provide health, stability and success!
When to send your Chinese New Year card?
When you send your postcard for Chinese New Year will depend on where you are and where your recipient is located. For example, if you are sending your post internationally, you will usually want to give plenty of time in advance. This is particularly important this year, as the COVID pandemic may have affected postal services in some countries.
Top Tip: Use MyPostcard to send Chinese New Year messages from anywhere to anywhere. We have several printing outlets, located in the UK, Australia, Germany and the USA. As a result, we can often offer a quick and speedy delivery to many locations around the world.
Happy Chinese New Year from us to you! May the Year of the Ox bring health, wealth and success to all.