Chinese New Year 2018: All You Want to Know About the Year of the Dog

A new lunar year is about to begin, and we’ve gathared everything you might want to know about it!

The beginning of a new lunar calendar is one of the most important moments of the year in the Chinese culture. But before the big day comes, people make sure their houses are ready to greet the new year, and you can expect to find several small red envelopes in every household. Chinese New Year 2018 falls on February 16, and if you keep scrolling you’ll find everything you want to know about the Year of the Dog.


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When is Chinese New Year/Spring Festival?

This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 16. However… Festivies last for more than two weeks, all the way through the 2nd of March. It’s the biggest celebration of the year, in China!

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Every year, Chinese New Year celebrations fall on a different day. But do you know why? For those of you who aren’t aware of this, the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar used by western societies. And one of the particularities of this calendar is that it’s not static, because neither are the moon cycles!

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How is the lunar new year celebrated?

Before the festivities can begin, and as we’ve mentioned before, one of the most important rituals is to clean your house. According to the legend, this will get rid of any bad fortunes that might come your way during the new year.

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Your typical Lunar New Year’s celebration would include explosions of light and sound. If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, expect to hear bells ringing, lighting firecrackers and, of course, the traditional lion dances.

Families typically gather around the same house to celebrate, and every kid is expected to be given a famous red envelope with money, commonly known as lucky money. Nowadays is also very common to see kids and teenagers with red envolpe apps on their phones, to make it easier for their relatives to transfer them the money.

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Why is this the Year of the Dog?

And what about the Chinese New Year animals? Okay, you might be aware that the Chinese calendar runs on 12 cycles, with twelve different animals that represent different personalities and traits, much like our zodiac signs on the west. The twelve animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon (undeniably a fan favorite), snake, horse, goat, monkey, and rooster.

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Photo © chinesenewyear2018

This year, 2018, will be the Year of the Dog, and people that are born this year will be expected to be communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace.

What can you expect to eat?

Food is one of the most important aspects of Chinese culture, and one they take most pride in, so you can expect to find amazing food during the Spring Festival. Each dish is usually created to give blessings to the new year, and even the names and the way every dish looks are symbols of prosperity, happiness, and auspiciousness. Here are some of the most common dishes:

Spring Rolls 春卷 (chūn juǎn)

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Dumplings 饺子 (jiǎo zi)

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Photo © Taste

Dumplings are shaped like ancient Chinese silver and gold ingots.

Fried Dough Twists 麻花 (má huā)

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In the past, the region of Daying  was infested with poisonous scorpions. To place a curse on them, every household stretched dough into long strips, thus creating these delicious treats.

What about clothing?

Marked as a time of new beginnings, you won’t find a single person wearing old clothes. You are expected to be done with the old, and bring in the new. It is also very common to receive new clothes from your family as a gift, although newer generations are not actively engaging with this tradition as before. Here are a couple of options:

Tang Suit (唐装—táng zhuāng)

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Photo © chinesenewyear2018

A red Tang suit is a very common choice for the Spring Festival. 

 

Qipao (旗袍—qí páo)

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Photo © chinesenewyear2018

Qipao is the most well-known traditional Chinese dress for women.

Don’t forget your home decorations!

And finally, after having properly cleaned their houses to receive the new year and its fortunes, everyone decorates their house accordingly to the special date. Red, being one of the most important and celebrated colors of the Chinese culture, is everywhere. And here are some of the most common home decorations for this time of the year:

Fortune 福 (fú)

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Photo © chinesenewyear2018

Chinese people decorate by hanging up certain words. The most common word is fu, happiness and good fortune.

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Lanterns 灯笼 (dēng lóng)

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The Spring Festival celebration spans a total of 15 days, with different activities for each day, culminating in the Lantern Festival.

Kumquats 金桔 (jīn jú)

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Photo © chinesenewyear2018

The character 桔 (jú – tangerine) looks similar to 吉 (jí), which means “luck,” while the golden color is festive and represents wealth and fortune.


Celebrate the Year of the Dog w/ Essential Home!

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KEEP READING: Easter Brunch: How to Simply Decorate Your Table


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