Which Cultures Celebrate Chinese New Year?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Chinese New Year is not exclusive to China, and this holiday is celebrated in many cultures around the world. It is especially common in areas with large ethnic Chinese populations, including Korea, Nepal, Thailand, Mongolia, and Vietnam. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, Japan also celebrated the lunar New Year, but the practice has been abandoned. The holiday is also celebrated in certain cities in Europe and America, especially New York and Los Angeles.

Holiday celebrations last 14 days, starting on the first day of the year with a new moon. The last day of the celebration, known as the Lantern Festival or Little New Year, is an all-out celebration of lights and parades. Because of the way the date is calculated, the actual day on which the celebration starts can vary widely, from 22 January (2004) to 19 February (1996).

The Chinese New Year is a public holiday, although this can vary depending on where it is celebrated. The first seven days are taken off in China, but only the first one is a non-working day in Brunei and Indonesia. Most businesses in celebrating countries close during the celebrations and don't reopen until the fifth day. In China and Korea, everybody turns a year older on the seventh day of the New Year, which is known as "the common man's birthday."


During the celebrations, it is common for families and friends to visit each other, and a big dinner is normally held on New Year's Eve. The color red is worn and used in decorations to symbolize prosperity, and people give each other small ornaments and certain flowers, such as sunflowers and narcissus, to bring about a great year. Children often receive a red envelope containing money, which never amounts to $4 US Dollars, since this is considered an unlucky number.


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