Chinese New Year (CNY) – also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival – is Asia’s biggest festival. Unlike Australian New Year’s Eve, most people in China are granted seven days off work to celebrate and spend time with loved ones. The streets are decorated with red lanterns, parades cascade the avenues, fireworks are booming constantly, and enormous banquets are enjoyed by all.
While the universal New Year’s Eve is always celebrated on December 31st, Lunar New Year falls on a different date each year. The date of the celebration depends on the lunar cycle and generally falls between January 21st and February 20th in the Gregorian calendar. In 2020, Chinese New Year will be observed on January 25th, ushering in the beginning of the lunar new year – the year of the Rat according to Chinese zodiac.
What is the Chinese zodiac?
The Chinese zodiac, also known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a 12-year cycle. Each of the 12 years is related to an animal sign that is said to affect the character and destiny of people born in that year. The function is very similar to western astrology.
The Rat is the first of the zodiac animals, followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The selection and order of the animals used in the Chinese zodiac originated in the Han Dynasty, between 202BC and 220AD.
Like the western astrological signs, your Chinese zodiac is assigned to you depending on your birth year. You will have a Rat zodiac sign if you were born in any of the following years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 – and 2020.
What does Year of the Rat mean?
Okay, so 2020 is Year of the Rat, but what does that mean exactly? According to Chinese horoscopes, here’s what the 2020 Year of the Rat holds for us all:
- It is marked with new beginnings and new opportunities for finding true love and earning more money.
- 2020 will be a year of success and renewal. It will be a strong, prosperous, and lucky year for almost all of the Chinese zodiac signs.
- You will show great determination towards achieving your goals and aspirations.
- If you plan on investing or starting a business, this is a great year to do it – but you will only find success with careful planning.
Now, we’re no Chinese astrologers here at CHEFIN. If you’re interested in reading more about your fortune for the year ahead, head to this page for a more detailed horoscope.
How to celebrate Lunar New Year
- 2 weeks before: Clean and decorate your home
Wherever you are, however busy you may be, you must dedicate time to clean out your house before the arrival of Chinese New Year. Every surface must be swept, wiped, mopped, and cleaned to rid your home of the old year’s dust and prepare it for taking in the fortunes of the New Year. Get the whole family together and tackle your home to refresh it ready for the next stage of life’s journey.
Once the home is cleaned and prepared, decoration begins. Focus on the auspicious bright red colour, with lots of vibrant Chinese knots, Spring Festival couplets, ‘Fu’ character pictures, and red window paper-cuts. With decorations up and displayed, the festive energy of Chinese New Year starts to be cultivated.
- Red envelopes
Exchanging red envelopes is a big tradition on Chinese New Year, similar to the gift-giving of Christmas time. Elders will share their wealth with the young, from newborns all the way to teenagers. Lucky money is wrapped in red envelopes and distributed to children in the family.
- New Year’s Eve: Family reunion dinner
Chinese New Year is a significant family holiday, and home is at the heart of the festivity. Chinese people make their way home for reunion dinner for the whole family – and boy is it a feast.
Let us help you celebrate CNY
Need some help organising a Chinese New Year event this year? Let us help you throw a memorable dinner that brings together your loved ones for the Year of the Rat. Our private chefs can create authentic and delicious Chinese New Year catering with all the traditional foods, and we can help you source an outstanding venue to host your party. We organise Chinese New Year events and catering for both private and corporate groups, so get in touch with our team now to plan your event!