Chinese New Year 2024: Date and Facts

~5 min

Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) will occur on February 10, 2024. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon. Learn everything you need to know about this traditional festival from this article.


When is Chinese New Year 2024?

In 2024, Chinese New Year (called Spring Festival in China) is celebrated on February 10. This festival is always tied to the date of the New Moon in China.

When does Chinese New Year start?

Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated by the Chinese on the second New Moon after the winter solstice. This year, such a New Moon will occur on February 9 at 22:59 GMT (5:59 p.m. EST). Due to the difference in time zones, in China, it will occur on February 10 at 06:59. As China Standard Time is the reference point for Chinese New Year, the world will celebrate this festival on February 10.

When does Chinese New Year end?

The Lunar New Year celebrations end on the day of the Chinese Lantern Festival. In 2024, it will fall on February 24. The Lantern Festival marks the first Full Moon of the new lunar year, which will occur on February 24 at 12:30 GMT (7:30 a.m. EST).

2024 is a year of what animal?

Each year in the Chinese lunar calendar is represented by a particular animal: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, or Pig. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, more precisely — the Wood Dragon. People born in the Year of the Wood Dragon are supposed to be full of energy and innovative ideas.

Why is Chinese New Year different every year?

Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, but it always occurs at the New Moon between January 21 and February 20.

Why does the holiday’s date always change? While in Western countries, the Gregorian solar calendar is used to mark the traditional holidays, Chinese people use their own lunisolar calendar with an occasional extra month.

Chinese lunar calendar: how does it work?

Although the traditional Chinese calendar is often referred to as a lunar calendar, it is, in fact, a hybrid of lunar and solar calendars. It means that it takes into account both the Moon’s orbit around the Earth and the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

In the Chinese calendar, the synodic month is used. It is the period the Moon takes to revolve around the Earth once relative to the Sun. The synodic month lasts from the New Moon to the next New Moon and equals 29.53 days. If you multiply this number by 12 months, you’ll get 354 days per year, which is 11 days less than it takes our planet to revolve around the Sun.

The Chinese wanted to fix this inconsistency and synchronize their calendar with the Earth’s movement around the Sun. So once every three years, a 13th month is added to the Chinese calendar. This “leap month” is the reason why Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year in the Gregorian calendar.

How long is Chinese New Year 2024?

In 2024, Chinese New Year celebrations will last for 16 days. They will start on the evening of February 9 (on New Year’s Eve) and end with the Lantern Festival on February 24, just before the Full Moon (called the Snow Moon in Western tradition). Although Chinese New Year is celebrated for more than two weeks, only the first eight days (from February 10 to 17) are considered a public holiday.

Chinese New Year dates 2024-2035

Here is a calendar with the dates of Chinese New Year for the upcoming 12-year cycle. In brackets, you can see animal signs for each year.

  • 2024: February 10 (Dragon)
  • 2025: January 29 (Snake)
  • 2026: February 17 (Horse)
  • 2027: February 6 (Goat)
  • 2028: January 26 (Monkey)
  • 2029: February 13 (Rooster)
  • 2030: February 3 (Dog)
  • 2031: January 23 (Pig)
  • 2032: February 11 (Rat)
  • 2033: January 31 (Ox)
  • 2034: February 19 (Tiger)
  • 2035: February 8 (Rabbit)

Chinese New Year celebration

The Lunar New Year, which is based on the traditional Chinese calendar, is observed not only in China — it is a very important festival for millions of people in other Asian countries. All of them have their own traditions for celebrating this holiday. Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year in other countries can occasionally fall on different dates due to time zones.

What countries celebrate Lunar New Year?

Apart from China, where it’s a national holiday, Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries that either use a similar lunar calendar or have a considerable Chinese population. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of such countries (in brackets, you’ll see the local name of the festival):

  • Korea (Seollal);
  • Vietnam (Tet);
  • Malaysia (Kongsi Raya);
  • Indonesia (Tahun Baru Imlek);
  • Mongolia (Tsagaan Sar).

How to celebrate Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year celebrations commonly feature putting up red decorations in your home, setting off firecrackers and fireworks, watching lion and dragon dances in the street, and eating jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) with your family. Not many people know that the Chinese also have traditional “instructions” on how to behave on each of the 16 days of the New Year festival. Here they are:

  • February 9: family reunion dinner, staying up until midnight;
  • February 10: visiting relatives, attending ancestor graves;
  • February 11: married women visit their parents with their husbands and children;
  • February 12: staying at home with the family and playing games;
  • February 13: praying and going to temples;
  • February 14: breaking taboos from previous days (such as doing needlework and getting your hair cut);
  • February 15: getting rid of old and unwanted things;
  • February 16: going out to nature;
  • February 17: having another family reunion dinner;
  • February 18: lighting incense in honor of the mythical Jade Emperor;
  • February 19: celebrating the “birth of stone” (the birth of all things) by not moving anything made of stone;
  • February 20: fathers invite their sons-in-law over;
  • February 21-23: cooking and making lanterns as a preparation for the Lantern Festival;
  • February 24: lighting lanterns, answering the riddles written on them, watching dragon dances, and eating the traditional dessert called tangyuan.

Facts about Chinese New Year

Here are a few interesting facts about Chinese New Year that you probably didn’t know about.

  • Firecrackers were traditionally used during the festival to scare away evil spirits. The color red was partly used for the same purpose.
  • Lunar New Year in China causes the largest migration in the world. Millions of Chinese travel from big cities to rural villages to visit their parents. There’s even a special word for this phenomenon — 春运 (chunyun or “spring migration”).
  • Single young people in China sometimes rent fake partners for Lunar New Year. They do it to appease parents and relatives.
  • You’re not allowed to shower, sweep the floor, or throw out garbage on New Year’s Day. It’s considered bad luck.
  • Chinese kids receive red envelopes with money inside during the holiday. In the modern age, there are digital red envelopes too.
  • The Chinese believe the year of your zodiac animal is the unluckiest for you. So good luck to all the Dragons in 2024!

Chinese New Year 2024: Bottom line

Chinese New Year falls on February 10, 2024, and marks the beginning of the Year of the Wood Dragon. It corresponds with the day of the New Moon in China. During this festival, people decorate their homes, set off fireworks, watch dragon dances, and eat jiaozi (Chinese dumplings).

We wish you clear skies and a happy Chinese New Year!