When is Chinese New Year? Why is Chinese New Year different to the UK? What Chinese New Year Zodiac is it? How do people celebrate Chinese New Year?

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Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the most important celebrations in the Chinese Calendar.

One of the advantages of living in such a diverse world is the range of celebrations that help us celebrate our life’s traditions and values with friends and family.

Yet sometimes there’s so many traditions that you don’t know where to start learning about them.

Here’s somewhere to start...

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year festivities will start on Friday December 16.

Why is it different?

The UK have traditionally followed the Civil calendar, otherwise known as the Gregorian calendar - which is used in Christianity.

However Chinese New Year is an event on the Chinese, or Lunisolar, calendar which uses astronomical measurements of the Sun’s longitude and the Moon’s phases.

The Chinese New Year will fall on the start of a new moon.

What Chinese year will 2018 be?

Following the twelve year animal zodiac cycle, 2018 is the year of the Dog.

The celebration begins on a different day each year using the guidelines of the Chinese Zodiac year.

If your Chinese zodiac is the Dog, this might not be your luckiest year - it is widely believed that you will be the receiver of bad luck if you were born in previous years of the Dog.

How do people celebrate Chinese New Year?

The festival is widely celebrated across China - this year millions of people will take part - so schools and business shut and let citizens celebrate with close friends and family.

Like most traditions, food plays a massive part in the celebrations, with certain foods acting as a good luck symbol for what the New Year will hold.

Noodles, a sign of happiness and longevity, and Tangyuan representing family togetherness.

Adults can also give their children red envelopes with money inside.

Interestingly, it isn’t the money that’s the most exciting part - it’s the colour red, which is a symbol of good wishes for the year.

Due to this it’s typical that whoever receives the red packet opens it in front of the person who gives them it.

The festival will continue for two weeks after February 16 and finish with an incredibly beautiful lantern show - signalling the end of the New Year celebration period.