How Chinese New Year Is Celebrated in the West
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Chinese New Year's Eve - Customs and Dates

Holidays and Festivals

Chinese New Year's Eve is the beginning of a festival that traditionally lasted about 2 weeks. It is celebrated in Greater China and in communities with large ethnic Chinese populations not only in Asia, but around the world.

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China is a large and diverse country, and customs and traditions vary from place to place. Two of the most universal customs on Chinese New Year's Eve are cleaning house – sort of equivalent to spring cleaning in the West – and having a family reunion at the home of one of the more senior members of the extended family.

Lavish banquets with yummy cuisine is a key feature of family reunions on Chinese New Year's Eve. In many ways, Chinese New Year hold the same cultural significance for the Chinese that Christmas does for people in the West.

Flowers for sale at Sheung Shui Flower Market on Chinese New Year's Eve. Photo Credit Accidental Travel Writer.
Temporary flower markets are set up in parks on Chinese New Year's Eve, such as this one in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Flower Markets

It is traditional to decorate the house with flowers, plum blossom branches, and Mandarin orange trees during Chinese New Year. For this reason, temporary flower markets are set up throughout China, and Hong Kong is no exception. 

These markets remain open into the wee hours.

Chinese New Year is also known as Lunar New Year, since its date is based on the lunar calender. In mainland China, it is called Spring Festival, since many traditional Chinese customs were suppressed on the Chinese mainland following the communist conquest of mainland China in 1949.

Chinese New Year is known as Tet in Vietnam, which was ruled by China for more than 1,000 years. It is known as Seollal in Korea, which also has strong cultural ties with China. Chinese New Year is also an official holiday in countries with large Chinese communities such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

However, since Chinese New Year falls on a Thursday this year, there will be long weekends in many countries, since the second (and sometimes third) day of the Lunar New Year is an official holiday in many of them.

Vietnam got off to an early start because Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, combines with the Vietnamese New Year, creating a 9 day break!

This Year's CNY Events in Hong Kong

Events celebrating the Lunar New Year will be held all over Hong Kong this weekend. Here are 4 of the most important ...

  • Lunar New Year Cup 
  • International Chinese New Year Night Parade
  • Lunar New Year Fireworks Display 
  • Spring Festival Horse Races

Official Holidays in Greater China

  • People's Republic of China  28 - 30 January 2017.  
  • Taiwan (Republic of China)  27 Jnuary – 1 February 2017.
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region  28 – 31 January 2017.
  • Macau Special Administrative Region  28 – 30 January 2017.

Official Holidays in Other Countries

  • Indonesia  28 January 2017.
  • Korea  27 - 30 January 2017.
  • Malaysia  28 – 29 January 2017.
  • Mauritius  28 January 2017.
  • Philippines  28 January 2017.
  • Singapore  28 - 30 January 2017.
  • Vietnam  26 January– 1 February 2017.

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