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Chinese New Year for Kids: 7 Fun Facts

Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival in China. It is very different from New Year in the West! Here are some interesting Chinese New Year facts kids should know. 

1. Chinese New Year is a big holiday for kids in China.

The whole family celebrates Chinese New YearRed lanterns are everywhere at Chinese New Year. Red is lucky in China.

Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China. All children are on holiday from school there. They have a long winter vacation of about a month. Most of this is spent together with family.

Many Chinese parents work far from their kids. This holiday is a chance for these families to be together.

2. Chinese New Year is not on January 1st!

Chinese New Year dates change every yearChinese New Year's date changes every year.

Chinese New Year isn't on December 31st or January 1st. It is later in January or in February.

Chinese New Year is always on a new moon day. The Chinese calendar is about a month or two behind the calendar used in the West.

See the Chinese New Year Calendar: Key Dates and Customs

3. Family time is very important.

Chinese New Year is the most important festival for Chinese familiesChinese New Year is the most important holiday for Chinese families.

The big family dinner on Chinese New Year's eve is the most important meal of the year. 

At Chinese New Year Chinese people remember family who have died. They put out food for the dead. They also burn paper money for the dead. It's not real money. 

4. Chinese New Year Decorations and Food

Lucky foods will be prepared for dinnerLucky foods for Chinese New Year dinner

Every family in China does a lot of work to get ready for Chinese New Year.

They clean their houses. They do a big shop. They decorate their house with lanterns and other red decorations. 

Getting food ready for the big Chinese New Year's Eve dinner takes a lot of work!

Most of the foods eaten at Chinese New Year are called "lucky foods". This is because of what Chinese people think of when they see them. They eat oranges because they think of gold when they see them.

Sometimes lucky food names sound like good things. Chinese people eat fish because "fish" in Chinese sounds like "yew"... and so does their word for "plenty".

5. Fun Things to Do

lion danceA lion dance

There are lots of special things to do at Chinese New Year. They have been done every year for hundreds of years.

Chinese people set off fireworks and firecrackers. They go to temple fairs to see shows. And they watch lion dances and dragon dances. All of these are really fun!

6. New Clothes and Lucky Money

Red envelopes look like thisRed envelopes look like this.

Chinese New Year is the time for everything new! Chinese people believe that wearing new clothes brings good luck and health.

This is why parents give new clothes to their kids on this day.

Kids are very lucky at this time of year. They are given "lucky money" by parents, older relatives, and visitors! The money comes in red envelopes. This is because people think red is the luckiest color in China. Some kids get over 1,000 dollars!

7. Chinese New Year is not just a holiday in China...

There are many decorations for Chinese New YearA Chinese New Year decoration: Chinese people write lucky words on red paper. 福 ("foo") means 'luck' or 'happiness'.

Chinese New Year is a holiday in other countries in the East, like South Korea and Vietnam. It is at the same time, but not called Chinese New Year.

In Vietnam, it is called Vietnamese New Year or Lunar New Year. (Lunar means 'moon'. So it's the "Moon New Year".)

Some things they do for Lunar New Year in other countries are the same. Some are different. The most important thing for Lunar New Year is still family time together.

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