Chinese New Year 2021 : When is it and how is it marked?

The Chinese New Year 2021 or the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) is celebrated on Friday, February 12 , according to the traditional Chinese Calendar.

In the Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. 2021 is the year of the Metal Ox, which is predicted to be a lucky year.

The Ox has also been celebrated in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009.

The Ox has the second position in the zodiac. The Ox is a representation of diligence, kindness, and generosity.

chinese new year 2021

The Chinese New Year, one of the world’s most important and popular festivals is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world.

This holiday is celebrated in countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Mauritius, but also Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, America, Canada, especially in the areas with a big Chinese community.

Lunar New Year 2021 Calendar

The chinese calendar is not like the Gregorian calendar, and the first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, that appears between January 21 and February 20(on February 12 2021), and the last day known as Lantern festival (February 6 2021), celebrated with night lantern displays, ends 15 days later on the full moon.

New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are celebrated with family. Traditionally, family celebrations were religious affairs, given in honor of the household and ancestors.
Close up portrait of a big Asian family showing Tet symbols with traditional greetings at home

The most important religious ritual, was the sacrifice to the ancestors. Loved ones, dearly departed are remembered with greatest respect, as they are responsible for the present and future good family fortune.

The family celebration on New Year’s Eve is known as the “surrounding the stove” or weilu. This comprises of a dinner arranged for the spirits of the ancestors, together with the living and represents past and present, and one strong community.

The most important New Year custom is for married couples to give lucky money called ‘lay-see’ to unmarried relatives, especially children.

‘Lay-see’ is a red packet containing ‘lucky money’ which people believe will bring luck to both the receiver and giver.

Older family members must also give lucky money to all those who are younger in the family, including those who are married. Kung hei fat choy!


Why Does The Date Change?

The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar year instead of a fixed number of day. Each month the moon come back as a new moon on a different date. On average about 29.53 days. So some month will be 29 and others will be 30 days long. 12 lunar months will take 354.36 days, short of the 365 days in a solar year.

To fix this the Chinese added an extra month every third year. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the month is marked by the dark moon. The new year starts on a new moon. A full moon occurs in the middle of the month.

Chinese New Year Dates 2019–2042

Chinese New Year DateChinese Animal YearYear Name
Jan 25 2020Metal RatGeng-Zi
Feb 12 2021Metal OxXin-Chou
Feb 01 2022Water TigerRen-Yin
Jan 22 2023Water RabbitGui-Mao
Feb 10 2024Wood DragonJai-Chen
Jan 29 2025Wood SnakeYi-Si
Feb 17 2026Fire HorseBing-Wu
Feb 06 2027Fire SheepDing-Wei
Jan 26 2028Earth MonkeyWu-Shen
Feb 13 2029Earth RoosterJi-You
Feb 03 2030Metal DogGeng-Xu
Jan 23 2031Metal PigXin-Hai
Feb 11 2032Water RatRen-Zi
Jan 31 2033Water OxGui-Chou
Feb 19 2034Wood TigerJai-Yin
Feb 08 2035Wood RabbitYi-Mao
Jan 28 2036Fire DragonBing-Chen
Feb 15 2037Fire SnakeDing-Si
Feb 04 2038Earth HorseWu-Wu
Jan 24 2039Earth SheepJi-Wei
Feb 12 2040Metal MonkeyGeng-Shen
Feb 01 2041Metal RoosterXin-You
Jan 22 2042Water DogRen-Xu

Spring Festival: The 15 days of Lunar New Year


The preparations for the holidays start one month prior when people buy presents, materials for decorations, food and clothes.

Also then starts the house cleaning to chase away bad luck, and the doors and windows are being repainted, usually in red.

These are then decorated with red paper strips (Chun Lian) with different wishes of happiness, prosperity and long life written on them.

Chinese new year festival decorations
Chinese new year festival decorations, ang pow or red packet and gold ingots.

What are the lucky colors for 2021?

Although this holiday is traditionally dominated by red, during the Year of the Ox, the colors that will bring good fortune and wellness are pink and orange.


Before New Year, the Chinese decorate their living rooms with flower vases, plates full of oranges and tangerines (symbolizing great happiness) and a tray with sweets with eight kinds of dry fruit.

On the walls and at the doors, they place red paper strips (Chun Lian), on which they write greetings as: “May you enjoy a perpetual health” or “The Star of Happiness, the Star of Health and the Star of Longevity may shine upon you”.


Lucky Foods to Eat During Spring Festival 2021

Food plays an important role during the Spring Festival. Many kinds of food cooked for this occasion are being served because they are considered symbols of luck.

For example, the fish (yu) represents “to have enough to also give others”, garlic (chiu-tsai) means “what lasts”, turnips (tsai tou) refer to “good premonitions”, while fish balls (yu-wan) and meatballs (jou-wan) represent “reunion”.


Oranges and pomegranates: One of the most known symbols of the Chinese New Year is the orange and it represents luck.

Pomegranate, on the other hand, is treasured for its many seeds, which symbolize fertility, but also for its red color that has the power to keep evil spirits at bay.

The Chinese also serve a whole fish that symbolizes abundance, and a chicken for gaining prosperity. The chicken must have the head, tail and feet still attached, connoting wholeness, perfection. The noodles must not be cut, because they symbolize long life.

The huge quantity of food served during this period is meant to symbolize the abundance and wealth of the house where they are being served. The most appreciated though is the food vividly colored in red, orange, green and gold.

Jai Traditional Vegetarian Dish

Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, Jai consists of root or fibrous vegetables. The ingredients consist of foods that represent good fortune.

Jai will include lotus seed, representing the hope for many male offspring, ginko nut, representing silver, black moss seaweed, the hope for wealth, dried bean curd, wealth and happiness and bamboo shoots for good wishes for everything.

White is an unlucky colour for New Year, therefore any white foods such as tofu is avoided.

Drinks : What to drink during the Chinese New Year

Here is a list of the most important drinks, loved by those who celebrate this important event:


All debts must be paid by New Year’s Day. Nothing should be lent on this day – anyone who does so will be lending all the year.

One should not use bad language, unlucky words, negative terms and the word ‘four’, which sounds like the word for death.

Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo.

References to the past year are avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.

It is believed that if you shouldn’t cry as to cry on New Year’s day means the coming year will be sorrowful. For this reason children are not told off on this day.


On New Year’s Day, you are not supposed to wash your hair or clean the house, for fear that good luck will be washed and swept away.

Shooting off firecrackers is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming the New Year.

On the stroke of midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, every door in the house, including windows, must be opened to allow the old year to go out.

The Dragon Dance is an ancient traditional Chinese dance, usually performed during big holidays, in hope of attracting peace and prosperity for the whole nation.

As millions of Chinese people stated to emigrate abroad, the tradition of this dance has become common in many countries. In time, the Dragon Dance became a symbol of the Chinese culture.

People wish each other good luck, happiness and abundance for chinese the new year 2021.’

Gong xi fa cai’ translates ‘Have a prosperous new year !’