Chinese New Year, or also called Spring Festival, falls on a different day every year, according to Chinaguide.com This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. In China each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2022 is the year of the Tiger.
The date is based on when the “New Moon” arrives. Then is where there is a new lunar cycle and is the first phase of the moon when it is a crescent shape.
The festival lasts for 15 days until the Lantern Festival. One sixth of the world celebrates these events.
It is a day for praying to gods for a good planting and harvest season. As an agrarian society, according to chinesenew year.net, the harvest was extremely important for their survival. People also prayed to their ancestors, as they were also treated as gods. According to one legend there was a monster named Nian that would come about every New Year’s Eve. Most people would hide in their homes, but one boy was brave enough to fight him off using firecrackers. The next day, people celebrated their survival by blowing off even more firecrackers, thus making it a tradition of believing they would scare off monsters or bad luck.
The same night, families would also burn fake paper money and printed gold bars in honor of their deceased loved ones. Similar to the Korean Chuseok holiday or the Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, the Chinese believed the offerings would bring good fortune and good luck to their ancestors in the afterlife.
It is one of the longest Chinese holidays lasting around forty days. Traditionally you have to spend time with your family and can only go out for the 5th day. Most stores are closed. As a result, people will stock up on Chinese foods and New Years products in preparation.
Families are expected to come from afar, the younger adults living in the cities are expected to come out to the rural areas where their eldery grandparents reside. It’s a busy travel time of year as you can imagine. It’s the equivalent to the Americans Thanksgiving, where families gather.
Single Chinese family members will sometimes even go so far as even hiring a fake girlfriend or boyfriend to take home just to appease the grandparents from asking “why aren’t you married yet” in expectation of carrying on the family name. No pressure.
Another unusual tradition is to believe that one should not shower, get a haircut, sweep or throw out any garbage. This to make sure you don’t wash away any of the good luck. Then, there is another day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This is the day to sweep out the bad luck and make room for the good.