Chinese New Year 2017: China’s annual epic travel rush is underway, as hundreds of millions of people head home during the Chinese New Year holiday. The event, locally known as chunyun, is the largest human migration in the world. According to the country’s economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, almost three billion trips are expected to be made this year, a 2.2% increase from last year.
It’s one of the most colourful events in the calendar, when people take to the streets both in China and across the globe.
Unlike our festivities, which always take place at midnight between December 31 and January 1, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration. The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
When is Chinese New Year 2017?
Chinese New Year 2017 – the Year of the Rooster – will be marked across the world tomorrow, Saturday January 28, with many festivities beginning tonight. Celebrations will continue until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month – February 11. The date is dictated by the Chinese lunar calendar which is organised around the movements of the moon, and differs each year. Usually it falls between January 21 and February 20.
How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?
Chinese families gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, and clean their houses to sweep away bad fortune on New Year’s Day. Traditionally, kids would be given red envelopes stuffed with ‘lucky money’ and positive wishes on New Year’s Day. Some teens now have red envelope apps, so their relatives can transfer cash digitally. The amount given must be an even number as odd numbers are associated with funerals
This year in London
Thousands of people are expected to mark the occasion in London’s Chinatown, where a parade traditionally takes place. It is expected to start at 10am, travelling along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End before reaching Chinatown, but exact details are yet to be released. In previous years the parade has included an official opening ceremony and entertainment such as acrobatics, traditional dance and music.
Chinese New year 2017: Which animal is 2017?
This year is the Year of the Rooster – or cockerel as we say in Britain. The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle, and those born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005 are also known as Roosters. The next Year of the Rooster will be in 2029.
THE LUCKIEST THINGS FOR ROOSTERS
- Numbers: 5, 7 and 8
- Days: The 4th and 26th days of a Chinese lunar month
- Colours:Gold, brown and yellow
- Flowers: Gladiola, cockscomb
- Directions: South, south-east
- Months: The 2nd, 5th and 11th Chinese lunar months
THINGS ROOSTERS SHOULD AVOID
- Numbers: 1, 3 and 9
- Directions: East
- Months: The 3rd, 9th and 12th Chinese lunar months
What is a fire rooster?
Not all Roosters are equal – there are five different types, each with different characteristics:
- This is the year of the Fire Rooster, which last fell in 1957.
- Fire Roosters are known for being trustworthy, punctual and responsible (especially at work).
- The other types are Wood Roosters, Earth Roosters, Gold Roosters and Water Roosters.
- On the whole, Roosters are active, amusing, popular, healthy, outspoken, honest, loyal, talkative and charming.
- They are also known to enjoy the spotlight – but can be vain and boastful.
Famous faces born in the Year of the Rooster include, Serena Williams, Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo, Bob Marley, Britney Spears, Rudyard Kipling, Benjamin Franklin, Prince Philip, Nancy Reagan, Joan Collins, Dolly Parton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono.
Popular Chinese New Year Greetings
- 新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo) ‘New Year goodness!’
In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/
- 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) ‘Happiness and prosperity!’
In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/
In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/
- 步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng) A steady rise to high places! — “on the up and up”
In Mandarin: /boo-boo gaoww-shnng /
In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin /
Rough guide to years:
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
- Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971
What does your Chinese zodiac sign mean?
In Chinese astrology, the 12 animal zodiac signs each have unique characteristics.
- Rat: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable.
- Ox: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined.
- Tiger: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic.
- Rabbit: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers.
- Dragon: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic.
- Snake: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive.
- Horse: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong.
- Sheep: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm.
- Monkey: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.
- Rooster: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident.
- Dog: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart.
- Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable.
Chinese New Year’s Day Taboos
To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year:
- Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year.
- New Year’s breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don’t want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen.
- Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God).
- Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as ‘fa’ in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
- Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.
- Going out: A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents, as this is believed to bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.
- The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
- Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
- Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
- Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone who owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it. Anyone who does so it is said will be unlucky all the year.
- An empty rice jar: An depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
- Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
- Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster.
- Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.
- Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
- Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.
Happy Lunar New Year! Welcome to the year of the fire rooster, when all your dreams could come true.