When Is The Chinese New Year? Traditions, Animals, and Superstitions

Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) usually occurs on the second new Moon after the winter solstice, any time between January 21 to February 21 each year. Chinese New Year 2023 is Sunday, January 22. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit.

What Is The Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year)?

The Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year, is celebrated with a two-part 15-day festival. The Spring Festival lasts for 11 days and is followed by the Lantern Festival, which is for four days. (There is also a celebration that precedes the the festival called “Little Year,” during which the preparations for the new year begin. This is a span of eight days.)

In China, only the first seven days are considered a public holiday, though many keep up with the traditions for the duration of the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year).

Why is this The Year of the Rabbit?

In the Chinese zodiac, each year is represented by one of the twelve animal signs—the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig, in that order. According to Chinese legend, Buddha asked all animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named a year after the 12 who visited him.

Lunar New Year animals.
Here is a chart of the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac Signs.

Does This Mean 2023 Will Be a Lucky Year for A Rabbit?

People governed by the rabbit sign are those who were born in any of the following years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023…

While you might think that being born during the year of the current animal year is lucky, the opposite is actually true. In Chinese astrology, the year that lines up with your zodiac sign is your Ben Ming Nian, a term that refers to a person’s zodiac being the same as the current year’s zodiac. In other words, 2023 is the Rabbit’s Ben Ming Nian.

Chinese astrology says that when it is your sign’s Ben Ming Nian, it will be your year of Fan Tai Sui. “Fan Tai Sui” means that you are offending the Tai Sui, who is the guardian god for the year. All of that is a complicated way of saying beware—there’s bad luck ahead!

It is believed that during Ben Ming Nian, a person will, at the very least, endure misunderstandings, setbacks and minor mishaps. They are more likely to experience serious disasters. (Sounds a bit similar to those who believe in the power of Mercury Retrograde.)

Luckily, Chinese mythology has a few remedies to help ward off bad luck. These traditions include:

  • Praying to the Tai Sui early in the year for protection and peace.
  • Wearing an amulet made to protect against the effects of Tai Sui.
  • Doing good deeds and behaving with love and kindness, especially to elders and the needy, which helps gain the favor of the Tai Sui.
  • Worshipping the Tai Sui, often by setting up a shrine in your home to make offerings to both the god and the year’s zodiac animal.
  • Wearing red, which is said to help improve your fortune and ward off Fan Tai Sui. Red is considered to be a joyous and auspicious color.

Learn about a fun tradition called “Rabbit rabbit.”

Rabbit Traits

People who are rabbits are considered polite, cautious, and responsible. They are easygoing, tender and pleasant to be around. Rabbits have good reasoning skills and great attention to details. They are socializers however sometimes find it hard to open up to others. Though they tend to be conservative, rabbits love surprises. They are said to be most compatible with dog, pig, and goat signs.

With so much mythology and so many rich traditions behind them, the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) and the Chinese Zodiac are fun to learn about. And if you happen to be a rabbit then make sure to play it careful this year!

— Author Amber Kanuckle

Which Chinese Zodiac Animal are you?

Locate your birth year below. If you would like a more detailed Chinese zodiac report, go here.


  • Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032 …
  • Traits: Known for originality and initiative, intelligent, energetic, trustworthy, hardworking, loyal, perfectionist, easily-angered but forgiving. May love to gamble.


  • Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033 …
  • Traits: Patient, persistent, leader, orderly, cheerful, good speaker, somewhat, stubborn, easily-angered, mentally alert, and cautious in dealing with people.


  • Years: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034 …
  • Traits: Courageous, aggressive, candid, compassionate, likes flattery, virtuous, very friendly, deep-thinking, logical, gentle, and kind.


  • Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035 …
  • Traits: Talented, articulate, thrifty, affectionate, diplomatic, tactful, peace-loving, good financially minded, seldom ill-tempered, and sentimental.


  • Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036 …
  • Traits: Humorous, sincere, soft-hearted, opinionated, honest, brave, passionate, trustworthy, healthy, willing to help others, and eager to learn.


  • Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037 …
  • Traits: Very wise, beautiful (mind and body), fickle, affectionate, seldom discouraged, strong-willed, good with organization, intelligent, and knowledgeable.


  • Years: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038 …
  • Traits: Extremely independent, artistic, loves music, drama, and literature, strong-willed, energetic, strives for perfection, optimistic, and loving.

Goat (Sheep, Ram)

  • Years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039 …
  • Traits: Elegant style (especially with clothing), creative, shy, easily-led, religious, tasteful, easy-to-please, sometimes pessimistic, loves art, smart, and friendly.


  • Years: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040 …
  • Traits: Very clever, charming, well-read, enthusiastic, skilled, has good common sense, loves adventure and travel. Talkative, agile, and has a good memory.


  • Years: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041 …
  • Traits: Honest, good worker, self-confident, ambitious, deep thinker, realistic. Excellent foresight, not easily discouraged. Outspoken and frank.


  • Years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042 …
  • Traits: Loyal, dependable, honest, good executive, and has a sense of humor. Very generous, always helping others. Outgoing, good leaders, artistic, gentle and kind.


  • Years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043 …
  • Traits: Chivalrous and gallant, honest, has a great thirst for knowledge. Dislikes arguments, kind, well-liked, calm. A slow but careful nature, easy-going manner.

9 Lunar New Year Superstitions

1. Housecleaning should be done before the Chinese New Year’s Day to sweep away bad luck from the previous year. No sweeping or dusting is allowed on New Year’s Day so that good fortune will not be swept away.

2. All doors and windows must be open at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to allow the old year to escape. It also allows the good luck of the New Year to enter.

3. Setting off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve scares away evil spirits while sending out the old year and welcoming the new one.

4. Precedents are set on New Year’s Day. Therefore, nothing should be loaned on this day, or else the lender will be loaning all year. Mischievous children are never spanked on this day to avoid tears destined to last the whole year through.

5. Do not use references to death or the past, use foul language and unlucky words, or the telling of ghost stories, which are taboo on this day.

6. Children are given red packets or envelopes containing even numbered amounts of money since odd-numbered amounts of money are traditionally given during funerals. (Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit. For instance, “30” is an odd number.) The only exception to the rule is that $4 is never given, as the number four is bad luck — the Chinese word for “four” is a homophone for the word “death.” Eight dollars is commonly given, as the number 8 is considered good luck.

7. Hair washing is forbidden. Leave your hair as it is on the first day of the New Year. The Chinese character for hair is the same first character in the word for prosper. This means washing or cutting it off is seen as washing your fortune away and dramatically reduces your chances for prosperity and good fortune in the year.

8. Knives and scissors may not be used because they may cut off fortune.

9. Celebrants wear red to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune and ensure a bright future. Black and white should not be worn as black symbolizes bad luck, and white is a Chinese funeral color. People dress in all new clothes and shoes to symbolize a new beginning for the New Year.

What is A Lunisolar Calendar?

Rather than following the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) marks the start of the year on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, which is based in large part on the movement of the Moon. As with the Gregorian calendar, days begin and end at midnight—but in a lunisolar calendar, the months start on the day of the new Moon.

Years start on the second (and rarely on the third) new Moon after the winter solstice.

While most people in China and elsewhere in Asia use the Gregorian calendar that we’re familiar with, the Chinese calendar is an important part of Asian culture that determines many of the region’s largest holidays and other important events. People often use the Chinese calendar to pick dates for weddings, funerals, starting a business, or moving to a new home.

Join The Discussion

Do you celebrate Lunar New Year?

Are you a rabbit or what animal sign are you?

Let us know in the comments below!

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David Fiske

I am a rabbit


You forgot the rabbit!


the rabbit is there look harder.


Its there…but they forgot the sheep

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