9 Things to Know About Chinese New Year

It's almost New Year's Eve in Western culture, but before you know it, the Chinese New Year will be upon us
Chinese New Year

Photo Modified: Flickr / Paul / CC BY 4.0

2016 is coming up, but what about the Chinese New Year? The Year of the Monkey begins February 8. Learn about traditions, customs, and superstitions.

The Chinese zodiac is represented by animal signs. Unlike Western signs, which generally hold sway for a period of about a month, in Chinese culture each year has a different sign, which comes into prominence on the occasion of Chinese New Year. That holiday was originally connected to the Chinese lunar-solar calendar and represented a time to honor ancestors, as well as household and heavenly gods. It was also traditional for families to feast together on the occasion. After China started following the Western calendar in 1912, the country adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t mean the traditional Chinese New Year fell by the wayside – a shorter celebration is enjoyed with a new name: the Spring Festival.

Even if you don’t reside in China, we’re sure you’ve still heard about some of the festivities that take place. But do you know how many fruits to put in a bowl without invoking bad fortune? Or that you could be missing your pet’s birthday? And why is everything in red? With the holiday coming up early in February, we’ve spotlighted 9 things you probably didn’t know about the Chinese New Year.