Chinese New Year: what you need to know

Last updated at 15:40
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What’s the story behind Chinese New Year?

This week, millions of people will be celebrating Chinese New Year.

It 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.

People wearing pig hats holding red lanternsGetty Images

See how much you know about Chinese New Year with this quiz - or read on to find out more!

When is it?

Chinese New Year will begin on Tuesday 5 February 2019.

The reason the new year falls at this time 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.

Because it depends on the moon, the date of Chinese New Year actually changes each year, but it will always fall some time between 21 January and 20 February.

Next year, the new year will start on 25 January, so the celebrations will be slightly earlier than they are this year.

Panda with a stuffed pig toyGetty Images
What is it?

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.

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

So the animals will have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle.

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It's Chinese New Year. What are the personality traits of people born in Year of the Pig?

2018 was the year of the dog, and this year it will be the year of the pig.

The next time it will be the year of the dog is 2030, as this is in 12 years' time.

How is it celebrated?

Before the festivities begin, people clean their homes really well 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!

Performers dancing on stageGetty Images
Here, performers dance on stage at a local fair in Beijing in China to mark the new year celebrations

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 eating lots of delicious food, including noodle soup, which traditionally brings luck for the year ahead.

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Amazing lantern shows for Chinese New Year 2018

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.

Little girlGetty Images
In Beijing, this girl is celebrating the lantern festival, which marks the end of celebrations for the Chinese new year period

Adults might give red envelopes to children with money inside too.

The festivities continue for two weeks, finishing with a special lantern festival, which signals the end of the New Year celebration period.

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