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Chinese New Year Calendar 2024: Key Dates and Customs

Chinese New Year Calendar 2024: Key Dates and Customs

Written by CindyUpdated Jan. 19, 2024

Chinese New Year is not just one day but over 30 days of festivities and activities, which have their own calendar. The preparation begins on the first of the Lunar Calendar and the celebration lasts until the 15th of the first month.

In 2024, Chinese New Year begins on February 10th and ends on February 24th with the Lantern Festival.

Laba Festival (Jan. 18, 2024): Old Chinese New Year Calendar Start

Traditionally, the start of the Chinese New Year calendar is 'The Laba Festival' (腊八节 Làbājié), which occurs about three weeks before Chinese New Year's Day and is celebrated separately. Religious activities and preparations for Lunar New Year would begin on this day. Now it is seldom celebrated, apart from in very rural communities.

The Traditional Chinese New Year Calendar: Key Dates

Each day of the 16-day-long festival has a name, and usually an assigned purpose or meaning. Below is a table of all the important dates and their meanings. Keep in mind that different regions and minorities may celebrate the days on different dates, or have different names or practices for certain days.

Solar Date (2024) Lunar Date Title Purpose / Meaning
Feb. 9th 12th month, 30th day
除夕 (Chúxì)
New Year's Eve
(除夕 Chúxì)
The most important celebration, includes the family reunion dinner, and staying up until midnight.
Feb. 10th 1st month, 1st day
初一 (Chūyī)
New Year's Day
初一 (Chūyī)
A day for visiting/greeting family and relatives, giving presents, and visiting ancestors' graves.
Feb. 11th 1st month, 2nd day
初二 (Chū'èr)
In-Law's Day
(迎婿日 Yíngxùrì, or
开年 Kāinián)
Married women visit their parents with their husbands and children.
Feb. 12th 1st month, 3rd day
初三 (Chūsān)
Day of the Rat
(鼠日 Shǔrì)
An ominous day, common to stay at home and rest with family, play games.
Feb. 13th 1st month, 4th day
初四 (Chūsì)
Day of the Sheep
(羊日 Yángrì)
An auspicious day, for prayer and giving offerings, or going to temples or fortune-tellers.
Feb. 14th 1st month, 5th day
初五 (Chūwǔ)
Break Five
(破五 Pòwǔ)
Commonly accepted as the day when taboos (from previous days) can be broken.
Feb. 15th 1st month, 6th day
初六 (Chūliù)
Day of the Horse
(马日 Mǎrì)
Believed to be the best day to get rid of old, unwanted things. Also an acceptable day to resume labor.
Feb. 16th 1st month, 7th day
初七 (Chūqī)
Day of Mankind
(人日 Rénrì)
Believed to be the day people were created. Encouraged to spend out in nature.
Feb. 17th 1st month, 8th day
初八 (Chūbā)
Day of the Grain
(谷日节 Gǔrìjié)
Good weather on this day will symbolize good crops for the year. Many families will have a second 'mini' reunion dinner.
Feb. 18th 1st month, 9th day
初九 (Chūjiǔ)
Providence Health
(天公生 Tiāngōngshēng)
The 'Jade Emperor's birthday, giving offerings, lighting incense, and setting off firecrackers.
Feb. 19th 1st month, 10th day
初十 (Chūshí)
Stone Festival
(石头节 Shítoujié)
The birthday of the 'god stone', similar to the previous day's rituals.
Feb. 20th 1st month, 11th day
初十一 (Chūshíyī)
Son-in-Law Day
(子婿日 Zǐxùrì)
Fathers are expected to 'entertain' or treat their sons-in-law on this day.
Feb. 21st – 23th 1st month, 12th – 14th day
初十二 - 初十四 (Chūshí'èr - Chūshísì)
Lantern Day Preparations Preparations for the lantern festival: cooking, making lanterns, etc.
Feb. 24th 1st month, 15th day
初十五 (Chūshíwǔ)
Lantern Festival
(元宵节 Yuánxiāojié)
Marks the end of the festival. Lanterns are lit and hung or flown, people watch dragon dances in the streets, and children answer lantern riddles.
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