The Chinese New Year is celebrated on a date that changes every year but always between January 21st and February 19th. Celebrations always start with fireworks and come to an end two weeks later with the red lantern festival.
This year, 2015, festivities will start on February 19th, will last 15 days and will finish, as said before, with the festival of the red lanterns. This is the day the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Actually, dressings-up, fireworks and parades will take place mostly during the weekend, i.e. on Saturday, February 21st and on Sunday, February 22nd.
What exactly is Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival?
It’s a feast, which depends on a calendar different from ours… It is called lunisolar calendar: it arranges the month number upon the dark moon and this is the reason why Chinese New Year has not a precise date. It all depends on the moon! There is also another interesting detail in this strange calendar… Every year corresponds to an animal! This year is the one of the Goat! Last year was the year of the Horse, whilst next year, 2016, will be the year of the Monkey. Rooster for 2017, Dog for 2018 and then Pig, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake… And then it will start again from the Horse!
You might be wondering why the celebrations with red lanterns and the dragon dance are accompanied by loud drums and fireworks. In Chinese mythology it is told that there once was a monster called Nian, which slithered out its home every year to scare all the humans and then kill them! It is said that the only way to keep him away was by making noise and colour everything red! This is why besides red lanterns and parade cloths, the members of the Chinese community wear red clothes and they exchange red envelopes with money and small gifts. They also paste on windows paper cut-outs and organize big dinners whose main dish is Nian gao, that is to say New Year rice… Actually, it is a rice dessert that we suggest you to try!