When is the Chinese New Year?

Unlike the Australian New Year, Chinese New Year happens on different dates each year. This is because Chinese New Year is dictated by the Lunar Calendar. Generally speaking though, the Chinese New Year is celebrated somewhere between 21 January and 20 February. It is usually the 23rd day of the 12th Lunar month on the Chinese calendar. Celebrations usually run for around 16 days. Chinese New Year in 2018 will kick off on 16 February and this year it is the Year of the Dog.

Lanterns strung in the streets of Chinatown in England

How Chinese New Year is celebrated

Chinese New Year is celebrated by one quarter of the world’s population!

There are many different celebrations and traditions that occur throughout the Chinese New Year. The main traditions that are followed include:

  • a ‘reunion dinner’ celebrated by Chinese families where ‘lucky’ foods like fish are served.
  • the gifting of red envelopes filled with money (for good luck).
  • setting off fire crackers and fireworks.
  • decorating the streets with ‘lucky’ red items such as lanterns.
  • watching traditional lion dances.

Children participate in Lion Dances in celebration of Chinese New Year

  • bell ringing.
  • eating dumplings.
  • eating sticky rice cake (in the south).
  • eating spring rolls (in the south).
  • three days before New Year the house is cleaned to get rid of bad luck.

Steamer basket containing dumplings consumed during Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Australia

Chinese New Year is not a nationally-observed Public Holiday in Australia, however it is widely celebrated with street festivals, special events, markets, cultural dances, fireworks and family activities. Chinese-owned businesses will likely close for the celebrations or amend their trading hours so that they may enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations, like the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival. 

Chinese New Year giant dragon lantern

2018 is the Year of the Dog

There are 12  animals associated with the Chinese Zodiac. In Chinese culture, the year you are born represents a specific animal out of those 12. The animal you are assigned represents the many aspects of your personality and dictates how lucky you will be in life.

The 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar are:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

According to Chinese legend, the Jade Emperor assigned the animals to their respective months based on what order they arrived at his party. The Dog is ranked 11th on the Zodiac calendar.

Personality Traits of Year of the Dog

People who are born in the year of the dog are said to be loyal, trustworthy and responsible. They are serious and very committed in the workplace. They are kind, cautious and prudent and will do anything for the one they love.

Lucky items for people born in the Year of the Dog

Numbers: 3, 4 and 9

Colours: Green, Red and Purple

Flowers: Rose, Orchids

Photo of red roses

Famous ‘Dogs’

Michael Jackson


Donald Trump

Justin Bieber


Abbie Cornish