Chinese Lunar Calendar

Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. On that day, the Chinese are particularly thankful for having passed through another year safely, and they wish each other another prosperous and good year. They thank the gods, goddesses and their ancestors for all the blessings of the past year. It is a day for family reunions and big family dinners.

There is a great deal of early preparation. The entire house is cleaned and tidied up, the kith is of special importance. Brooms, knives and other sharp items are hidden away until the second day of the Chinese New Year. It is believed that any sweeping on New Year's day would bring bad luck (e.g. "sweeping away money"). Red scrolls are hung on the door posts outside and in the house. Flowers such as peonies, narcissus and blossoms from plum and peach trees are displayed throughout the house; they symbolize prosperity and happiness.

On New Year's Eve, family members get together for a dinner reunion; this is considered very important. It is the one time during the year that everyone has the opportunity to see all the family members together. The adults and children stay up for the entire night. It is believed that the longer one stays up the longer one's parents will live. At midnight the New Year is welcomed in by food offerings of vegetables to the gods and goddesses. The firecrackers are exploded scaring away lazy and evil spirits.

On Chinese New Year's Day, family members greet each other. Married adults give out red envelopes containing money to children and single adults. These envelopes express gratitude and good wishes.

People greet one another saying "Gung Hay Fat Choy" (wishing you a prosperous New Year). In China, the new year is celebrated for 14 days.

CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR

GREGORIAN CALENDAR
  LUNAR CALENDAR
  • Follows the cycles of the sun
  • Has 365 days per year
  • 30-31 days per month except February
  • Leap year every 4 years
  • We use this calendar every day
  •  
  • Follows the cycles of the moon
  • Has 354 to 360 days per year
  • 29-30 days per month
  • Leap year every 3 years
  • All Chinese festivals are based on this calendar

  • Lunar Calendar

    There is a cycle of 12 years with an animal representing each year. The first month of the year is called the First Moon; the second month of the year is called Second Moon, etc. Some moons have a nickname in relations to flowers because they play a significant part on in most Chinese festivals. Flowers are also used to represent different months.

    Months of the Year (First Moon = First Month)


    First Moon

    Holiday Moon

    The Plum Blossom
    Second Moon Budding Moon The Peach Blossom
    Third Moon Sleepy Moon The Peony
    Fourth Moon Peony Moon The Cherry Blossom
    Fifth Moon Dragon Moon The Magnolia
    Sixth Moon Lotus Moon The Pomegranate
    Seventh Moon The Moon of the Hungry Ghosts The Lotus
    Eighth Moon Harvest Moon The Pear
    Ninth Moon Chrysanthemum Moon The Mallow
    Tenth Moon Kindly Moon The Chrysanthemum
    Eleventh Moon White Moon Gardenia
    Twelfth Moon Bitter Moon Poppy


    Future Chinese New Year Dates

    Gregorian Calendar Zodiac Animal Chinese Lunar Year
    FEBRUARY 1, 2003 YEAR OF THE SHEEP 4701
    JANUARY 22, 2004 YEAR OF THE MONKEY 4702
    FEBRUARY 9, 2005 YEAR OF THE ROOSTER 4703
    JANUARY 29, 2006 YEAR OF THE DOG 4704
    FEBRUARY 18, 2007 YEAR OF THE BOAR 4705
    FEBRUARY 7, 2008 YEAR OF THE RAT 4706