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Happy Chinese New Year – but what is it?

This week, millions of people will be celebrating Chinese New Year, which will be marked by communities all over the world. People will eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion. The Chinese New Year festivities will begin on Saturday 28 January 2017. The reason the new year falls now is because it marks the start of the lunar new year, which is when there is the start of a new moon. This is different to the “Gregorian” calendar that we traditionally use in the UK, which always starts on 1 January, and, because it depends on the moon, the date of Chinese New Year changes each year, though generally it will fall between 21 January and 20 February.

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of twelve animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac. The animals have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle. 2016 was the year of the monkey, while this year will be the year of the rooster. It is believed that the rooster is a messenger from heaven, so it is traditionally seen as a symbol of trust and honesty – will it be a year of trust and honesty for you?

It’s a big celebration with families coming together for eating lots of delicious food, including noodle soup, which traditionally brings luck for the year ahead. Before the festivities begin, people clean their homes thoroughly to make them ready for the celebrations. Then, when New Year’s Day comes, there is a tradition not to pick up a broom, in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of the door! In China, schools and businesses can close for the first few days of the new year, so that everyone can spend time with their families. People enjoy There will be parades and performances, with people dressed in traditional clothes. Fireworks are also set off, because it is thought that noise and lights will scare away any evil spirits for the coming months. There will also be performances of music and dance like the Chinese dragon – which is what the brilliant year 1 from Welbeck Primary in The Meadows have been exploring this week!

Do you want to know which sign of the Chinese zodiac you are and what it says about you? Find out here by checking which year you were born in! (If you were born in January or February before Chinese New Year that year, though, your animal will be the sign for the year before) and, if you’re celebrating, have a wonderful time! 新年快乐 (Happy New Year!)

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