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Chinese Lunar New Year Vs Western New Year

Chinese Lunar New Year Vs Western New Year: the comparison mainly focuses on different time to celebrate the new year, various activities and respective meanings. The following discussion may help you get a better understanding of the differences between Chinese Lunar New Year and Western New Year.


Time to Celebrate

The biggest difference must be the time of celebration. Western people have a fixed date to celebrate western new year, which is the first day of January on the Gregorian calendar each year. However, Chinese people celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year on different date every year, usually around late January or early February.

Why does the date of Spring Festival change each year? We all know that western new year begins a new civil year, based on solar calendar. And for Chinese Lunar New Year, Chinese people usually use lunisolar calendar, basically the exact date for the new year is determined by the traditional lunar calendar, which is different on the Gregorian calendar every year.



Meaning of a new year is quite simple for western people, a new start for a year. But for Chinese people, they have lots of expectations for the new year, no matter for a good fortune, health or wealth. As a result, there are plenty of taboos for Chinese New Year. Continue reading if you’re interested in Chinese traditional culture.

New Year Decoration

  • Chinese people believe it unlucky to break bowls and plates, meaning your good luck will be broken for the next year. If it does happen, they will say some auspicious words like “suìsuì píng’ān” for a good wish.
  • Chinese people will clean the house ahead of time, but they won’t do the cleaning during the Spring Festival, because it will sweep away the good luck.
  • Chinese people will avoid some bad words when talking with other people, especially some inauspicious words.



For western people, what they do to celebrate western new year is almost like Christmas. The most important thing for them is to go home and stay with their families, enjoy a big meal or have a party with friends and relatives. Activities for celebrating the new year vary from person to person, that is to say, people in individual regions celebrate it in their own ways.

The counting down activity is quite common to see in western countries. People will gather together at some parks or squares and wait for the important moment to count down for the new year.

In China, most places share the similar customs for Chinese New Year, no matter for the preparation or celebration. Just like the western new year, the biggest thing is family reunion. So, there will always be a big meal on New Year’s Eve.

Reunion Dinner

After the reunion dinner, Chinese people will watch the Spring Festival Gala on TV with families and start to send messages to friends with the best wishes for the new year. Usually the elders will give red envelopes (Hongbao) to children after the meal. Nowadays, more people prefer to send red envelopes on WeChat and some other apps, grabbing red envelopes online has been a popular activity for the Spring Festival.

Send Red Envelopes Online

When it’s about 12 am, all the people will begin to set off fireworks and firecrackers. It’s a traditional way to celebrate new year, people believe that the noise will frighten away evil spirits and the dangerous beast “Nian”.

In some places of China, there will be parades along the streets, with performances like lion dances and dragon dances.

Lion Dance

Except for sharing happiness with families, it also a great time to visit relatives and friends. Chinese people will exchange new year presents, for the best wishes to the following year.


Visit China for Chinese Lunar New Year

By reading the major differences between Chinese Lunar New Year and Western New Year, you will get to know more about Chinese culture. If you are a cultural buff, it’s worthwhile to have a tour during Chinese Lunar New Year. See our sample tours for some inspiration.

Explore China during Chinese Lunar New Year