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Chinese New Year 2023

NEWS | Published on 26/01/2023
Optimizada chinese culture

Did you know that Chinese New Year 2023 was celebrated on January 22? Many people outside the Asian continent know little to nothing about Asian traditions. Only those with a keen interest in Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian cultures are familiar with their customs and rituals. They are even governed by a lunisolar calendar and not the Gregorian calendar that is used in most parts of the world.

A lunisolar calendar indicates the time taking into consideration both the phases of the Sun and the phases of the Moon. The Chinese calendar has a lunar new year and is associated with 12 animals. This year that has just started is the year of the rabbit. Do you know what it means? By the end of reading this blog, you'll even know how to wish someone a happy new year in Chinese.

Chinese New Year Celebration 2023

Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world. Usually, seasons change on four particular days each year, two solstices, one in June and one in December, and two equinoxes (one in March and one in September). The Chinese New Year falls on the day of the new moon closest to the day equidistant between the winter solstice (between December 21 and 23) and the spring equinox (between March 20 and 21) in the northern hemisphere. 

On the calendar of the 24 solar terms of the year, that equidistant day is considered the beginning of spring. In Chinese culture, the beginning of spring is referred to as lichun (立春, lìchūn). The Chinese New Year is on the day of the new moon (lunar new year), but the 24 solar terms are governed by the position of the sun in the zodiac (solar) calendar. 

Therefore, often both days do not fall on the same date; and the equidistant day is the new year's day only if it coincides with the new moon; otherwise, the day of the new moon closest to the lichun will be taken as the new year's day, which may be between January 21 and February 18. Therefore, the celebration of Chinese New Year 2023 was on January 22.

The animals of the zodiac in Chinese culture

Remember at the beginning we told you that this is the year of the rabbit? Now, let’s look at why! The ancient Chinese astronomers assigned to each of the five main planets one of the five Chinese elements: to Venus, metal (iron - gold); to Jupiter, wood; to Mercury, water - air; to Mars, fire; and to Saturn, earth. 

According to the astrology in Chinese culture, the position of these planets, along with the position of the sun, moon, and any comets in the sky, plus the date of birth and zodiac sign can determine a person's destiny.

Each personality is associated with an animal that represents it, according to the lunar year of birth. Each year in the 60-year cycle contains twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This is where many descriptions of Chinese astrology differ from Western society. 

Those born in the Year of the Rabbit possess extraordinary human qualities: they are prudent, intelligent, affable, discreet, farsighted, attentive, and benevolent. That is why the sign of the rabbit is widely accepted by people.

So you may wonder, why does Chinese New Year 2023 correspond with the rabbit? Each animal combined with one of the five elements results in the possibility of up to 60 combinations. The current cycle began in 1984. Thus making it the year of the rabbit. 

Chinese New Year Traditions

The Chinese New Year –also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year– is the most important traditional holiday of the year in the Chinese calendar and one of the most celebrated holidays in some countries in East Asia. During this period, the largest human migration on the planet, known as "the spring movement", takes place. Millions of people travel to their places of origin to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families! 

Celebrations begin on the first day of the first lunar month and end on the 15th when the Lantern Festival is celebrated. Therefore, the celebration of Chinese New Year 2023 will last until February 6. So it’s not too late to wish someone a happy new year in Chinese. And there’s still time to say it in Chinese: 新年快樂 (xīnnián kuàilè). 

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