Chinese New Year

The unisolar calendar and its dates

An ancient tradition in brief

Each year, towards the end of January or beginning of February, an unmissable phenomenon occurs in China and in the neigbourhoods inhabited by large Chinese communities around the world. The preparations for the Chinese New Year are being stepped up, with all due excitement.

Red, as a colour, becomes predominant. The art of decorating is taken to a new level. The Dragon Dance is eagerly awaited, same for fireworks. Well in advance, the upcoming year is interpreted according to the Chinese Zodiac, with its 12-year cycle, and each year under the sign of an animal and its attributes. Till 5 February 2019 it was the year of the Dog. Its place was taken by the Year of the Pig and from 25 January 2020 it is the Year of the Metal Rat.

Like any ancient tradition, there is a mythical thread going on and uniting modern customs with those born thousands of year ago, when the first calculations of the New Year got underway.

As different from the Western Gregorian calendar, based on solar years, the Chinese one is a lunisolar one, reconciling the solar and the purely lunar calendars. You can read more about the lunisolar solution and different types of lunar calendars in our article.

The dates of the Chinese New Year involve quite complicated calculations. If you are interested in any of last century's dates or in future ones, till 2050, visit the relevant page for your chosen decades:

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