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10 Fun Facts About Lunar New Year for Kids + Free Printables

by Jannie Ho

fun-facts-lunar-new-year
Photo credit: Images By Tang Ming Tung, Stone Collection/Getty Images

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in China. It is a time for families to gather and celebrate. Here are some fun facts and traditions to welcome the new year!

1. What is the Lunar Calendar?

Chinese New year, also known as Lunar New Year, is on a different day every year. It follows the Chinese lunar calendar and usually falls between mid-January to early February. This year, it is on January 22nd. Also known as the Spring Festival, the celebration traditionally lasts for over 2 weeks and ends with the Lantern Festival. Many other Asian countries also celebrate the Lunar New Year with similar traditions as well as their own.

2. There are Twelve Zodiac Animals

12 Chinese zodiac animals form a 12-year cycle dating back to ancient times. Each year is linked with a different animal: mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. 2023 is the year of the rabbit. Each animal has its own distinct personality; it is believed that yours corresponds to the animal of your birth year!

3. Shopping and Decorations for Lunar New Year

Many holiday markets pop up around town, selling lanterns and decorations for the home. Flowers are popular decorations as they represent good luck and fresh beginnings.

4. Cleaning up for the New Year

Need a good motivation to clean? It is a tradition to sweep and clean the house before the new year arrives. This is believed to clear out bad luck so the new year can start fresh.

5. Lucky Envelopes for Kids

Children get lucky during this time of year! Known as hóng bāo (in Mandarin) or lai see (in Cantonese), children get red envelopes stuffed with money from their parents and elders.

6. Yummy Food for All!

In Chinese culture, no celebration is complete without good food! Many foods served during Lunar New Year symbolize good wishes for the coming year. Whole fish symbolize abundance, long noodles mean having a long life, and sweets represent a sweet life. Mandarin oranges and tangerines represent wealth and luck and are found in many homes.

7. Red all over

Red is a very lucky color that can be seen throughout Chinese New Year. You may see many people wearing new red clothes from head to toe for the new year.

8. Lucky Greetings

People say many lucky greetings to one another during the new year. They write them on red paper and use them to decorate their homes and stores. A popular greeting is “Xīn nián kuài lè,” which is a way to say “Happy Chinese New Year!” in Mandarin.

9. Do the Lion Dance

The lion dance is very popular around this time of year and is performed at many events and businesses. Two dancers in a lion costume perform the movements of a lion in time with loud drum beats. This dance is believed to bring good fortune and is spectacular to watch!

10. Watch the Fireworks

Let’s celebrate Chinese New Year with a bang! There is a legend that a monster named Nian visited every New Year’s Eve, and a boy set off firecrackers to scare the beast away. So, it has become a tradition to see grand fireworks to scare away bad spirits.

  • Printables

  • Chinese New Year Coloring Page

    From sweet mandarin oranges to hanging lanterns to red clothes, grab your crayons and color in this picture of all the exciting ways to celebrate Lunar New Year.

  • Chinese New Year Rabbit Mask

    Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with this adorable mask! Print, color, and cut for a fun way to learn about the Chinese Zodiac.