Chinese New Year

25 Jan

Today is New Years Eve in China. The last day of the 子年 (“Year Of The Mouse”).

If you’re in the area, and you have a chance, I recommend going to 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan) tomorrow.

If you went there tonight, they are having New Years Eve celebrations as I write this.
But if you can go there tomorrow (Monday, January 26, 2009), that’s when the bigger celebrations will happen.

The most famous is the parade with the Chinese dragon dance.

Chinese Dragon Dance

(The Japanese version of this is the 金竜の舞い (“Golden Dragon Festival”) in Tokyo every March (Click here to read a bit about this festival on my “Festivals In Tokyo” page)):

As in Japan, New Years is China’s biggest holiday.
Actually there are a number of similarities between Chinese and Japanese New Years…although in Japan, the details are Japanese style and in China, they’re uniquely Chinese, of course.
For example, just like New Years in Japan, in China New Years is a time for getting together with family for a big traditional dinner and first visit of the year to a temple and family grave.
Also, in both countries, children receive お年玉 (gift money) in a special envelope. In Japan, the envelope is usually white with cartoon characters on it…in China, it’s almost always red (red is a lucky color in China).

Japan uses the Chinese horoscope with twelve creatures. So, January 1, 2009 began the 丑年 (“Year Of The Cow”) in Japan…and in China, the “Year Of The Cow” begins tomorrow.

Also, both countries have their own unique calendar. So, the official year in Japan is currently 平成二十一年 (Heisei 21). In China, tomorrow will begin the year 4706!

Click here to read the short bit I wrote about Chinese New Year in Yokohama Chinatown on my “Festivals In Tokyo” page.

Also, I’ve been living in Japan since 1990, so I know about Japan’s culture, holidays, etc…but I don’t know much about China. So, the parts I wrote in this post regarding China are based on what I’ve read and heard over the years.

(I also wrote about Japanese New Years, of course. Click here and here to read about it.)

12 Responses to “Chinese New Year”

  1. kotaro sinjhi March 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    bwat ank2 IKSPI lamongan khususnya UNISDA sukses ya yang telah bwat barongsai


    • tokyo5 March 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      Sorry. I have no idea what that means.
      Could you write it in either English or Japanese?


  2. tokyo5 January 27, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    Sir Pent…

    >never knew they sometimes had varying numbers of days.

    Yeah, the Lunar Calendar is confusing. I’m glad Japan adopted the Solar one.


  3. tokyo5 January 27, 2009 at 12:20 am #


    >Kung Hei Fat Choy!

    Is that “Happy New Year” in Chinese? Can you speak Chinese?

    All I know (besides English, of course) is Japanese: 「明けましておめでとうございます。」


  4. tokyo5 January 27, 2009 at 12:17 am #


    >So they have a leap month then….interesting!

    Yeah, something like that.

    Since the sun’s stationary, the Solar (Western) calendar is more accurate.


  5. tokyo5 January 27, 2009 at 12:14 am #


    Thanks for commenting on my site again…

    >in Indonesia the New Year of Chinese is interesting too..

    Yes, many countries celebrate Chinese New Years. Japan used to use that calendar too…long ago.

    >Especially for Barongsai …

    That’s Indonesian for “Asian Lion Dance“, isn’t it?

    Japan has a lion for New Years too. It’s called 「獅子舞」 (Shishimai). It looks quite different from the Chinese (or Indonesian) versions.
    The Japanese one has a red face and green cape.


  6. Sir Pent January 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    Interesting. I’ve always known that the Asian cultures have different years…but never knew they sometimes had varying numbers of days.


  7. bartman905 January 26, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    Kung Hei Fat Choy!


  8. Eric January 26, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    So they have a leap month then….interesting!


  9. bocahbancar January 26, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    Ho ho ho ho ho ho..

    i’m Coming back to read it …

    Right, in Indonesia the New Year of Chinese is interesting too..

    Especially for Barongsai …


  10. tokyo5 January 26, 2009 at 1:43 am #


    >does that mean some years are longer than other ones.

    I don’t understand the Chinese Lunar calendar very well…but, yes, actually it seems that some years in China are longer than others.

    The Chinese New Year starts at the first New Moon between January 21 and February 21 (so Chinese New Year will always be between those dates).
    And a Chinese month is 30 days long…that makes their year shorter than a Western (Solar) one, so every few years they add an extra month to keep the Lunar year in synch with the Solar one.

    Or so I’ve read.


  11. Eric January 26, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    I find it interesting that the date for Chinese New Year is different every year. I know it’s because of the moon, but does that mean some years are longer than other ones.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: