On January 27th, Chinese communities around the world will begin celebrations to welcome the new year, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. After the Year of the Monkey, 2017 heralds the Year of the Rooster. People will take to the streets for the magnificent, colorful Chinese New Year celebration that lasts for two weeks.

Fifty-five per cent of China’s population is urban but over a hundred million people return to their rural roots for the new year. The Chinese traditionally celebrate the start of a new year of farm work, and pray for a good harvest.

Chinese dragon

Photo: Marina Rossi via Pixabay

When is the 2017 Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year takes place on a different date each year since it is based on the lunar calendar.

This year, the celebrations will begin on January 27, New Year’s Eve, and continue for two weeks – ending on February 2. The year will last until February 15, 2018.

Chinese dragons

Image via Pixabay

How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?

Expect festive parades, fireworks, dragon dances, spectacular lighting, lanterns and more!

Chinese families follow numerous traditions during this special holiday: they clean and decorate their houses to sweep away bad fortune, gather around for reunion dinners, dress head to toe in new clothes to symbolize a new start – typically in red (China’s good luck color) to scare off spirits of bad fortune, as well as to go with the upbeat, festive mood.

Children are traditionally given red envelopes stuffed with money and positive wishes on the New Year’s Day, but with the advancements in technology, some relatives transfer cash digitally to teens who now have red envelope apps. Traditionally, the Lantern Festival marks the end of the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year holiday) with gorgeous lantern displays. Try the sweet rice dumpling soup too!

Photo: Edna Winti via Flickr

What is the Year of the Rooster?

2017 is the Year of the tenth Chinese zodiac, the Rooster. There are five different types of roosters, each with different characteristics. However, this is the year of the Fire Rooster – which last fell in 1957.  Other types of roosters include the Wood Roosters, Earth Roosters, Gold Roosters and Water Roosters.

According to Chinese astrology, those born during the year of the Fire Rooster are known for being trustworthy, punctual and responsible at work). As a whole, Roosters are honest, loyal, charming, and popular in a crowd. 

chinese new year 2017 year of the rooster

2017 is the Year of the Rooster Photo: James Creegan via Flickr

Celebrations Around The World

Beijing: If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Beijing, a must-do are the temple fairs (miaohui) that goes on for a week and offers fantastic entertainment, food and shopping. Think Peking Opera, acrobatics, lion dances and more. For flower fairs starting Jan 24, head to Guangzhou and check out Harbin for its Ice and Snow Festival.

Photo: Alexander Ramsey via Unsplash

Hong Kong: A night parade on Jan 28 is party you don’t want to miss. The next evening, witness some spectacular fireworks at Victoria Harbor.

London: Chinatown will be adorned with decorations and dancers will be out in the streets to mark the start of the Chinese New Year. The main parade will be held through central London on January 29. Make sure to participate in the festivities by visiting The Magical Lantern Festival (Chiswick House and Gardens), as well as The West End, which will be filled with celebratory music, performances and activities, and a grand parade featuring lion dancing, weaving its way from Trafalgar Square all the way to Chinatown. Food stands, craft stalls, and music displays will be all down Wardour Street and Gerrard Street. Also, don’t forget to dine at one of Chinatown’s finest restaurants.  

chinese new year in London

Chinese new year in London. Photo: Paul via Flickr

CaliforniaSan Francisco’s Chinatown creates a large buzz in time for the Chinese New Year with a series of events lined up for the 15-day festival, including a parade featuring more than 100 floats and assorted performances. San Francisco’s parade takes place on February 11, at 5:15 p.m., starting from the corner of 2nd and Market Streets. 

New York: The New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural festival, which takes places at Sara Roosevelt Park, is on January 28, 2017. The Chinese New Year Parade will take place in Chinatown, on February 5, with processions officially beginning at 1 pm The parade heads down Mott St from Canal St, continues onto East Broadway and curves up through Sara Roosevelt Park via Forsythe and Eldridge Sts to Broome St.

Chinese New Year Chinatown

Photo: Jason Mendoza via Flickr

A smoggy start to the new year?

China expects a smoggy Lunar New Year and it is estimated that nearly 3 billion trips will be taken across China during this time. So what is China doing to combat the smog from fireworks? Beijing has limited sales to a few licensed sellers, central Henan province has banned their use in all cities and towns and Hebei’s Baoding city says it will detain people setting off fireworks anytime outside the four days of celebration.

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