Red decorations, lanterns and colourful symbols can be seen everywhere.
These shall attract luck and prosperity for the year to come.
The 12 Chinese zodiac animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. They always come in the same order, so 2018 was the year of the dog, 2019 is the year of the pig and 2020 will be the year of the rat. (We share the answer at the bottom of the page under 'Resources') People wish each other good luck, happiness and wealth for the new year.
The words used most in good wishes are: happiness, wealth, prosperity, prosperous, auspicious'Gong Xi Fa Cai' means 'Have a prosperous new year' (pronounce it as: Gong Hee Faat Choy).
This year, the first month of the new lunar year starts according to the Chinese calendar on 5 February 2019.
Many countries celebrate the new year according to the Chinese Calendar and not only to our calendar which is the Gregorian calendar starting on the 1st of January.The Chinese calendar is about one month behind our (so called Gregorian) calendar as it has between 30 and 50 more days per year.And the Chinese zodiac calendar has a cycle of 12 years.Lunar New Year is an important public holiday for many countries including China, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.In many countries, Chinese communities celebrate in the city's 'Chinatown' districts.Many people dress mainly in red coloured clothing for the festivities.Often people also buy new clothes to show that a fresh beginning is celebrated with the new year.Mandarin oranges, dried fruit and even sweets are seen as lucky food.Candy boxes and little round shaped biscuits symbolising gold or fortune are served everywhere.However, due to security reasons, firecrackers are banned in many areas nowadays and official fireworks displays are held instead.On the second day of the new year, families will visit each other and hand over little gifts. Gifts are handed money or little tokens in red packets or envelopes as these symbolise prosperity and happiness.