Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Quick Facts - NL

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2024 Date10 February 2024
2025 Date29 January 2025

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in
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Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is a major celebration in Chinese culture. The festival is based on the lunar calendar, marking the beginning of a new year and the arrival of spring. It is a time for family gatherings and festivities that involve various traditions, such as the giving of red envelopes filled with money, feasting on special dishes that symbolize good fortune, honoring ancestors, and various leisure activities like lion and dragon dances, lantern parades and firecrackers.

The celebration has evolved over thousands of years. Historically, the Chinese New Year was a time to honor deities and ancestors and to purge the previous year's bad fortune. The holiday is rooted in China's agrarian past, relating to the cycle of planting and harvest. In recent years, it has become known in The Netherlands, courtesy of the sizeable Chinese community that has brought an array of traditions to the country. Many similarities can be found between Chinese New Year and its Dutch equivalent, such as the emphasis on family, good food, and the welcoming of a prosperous new year.

In The Netherlands, the Chinese celebrate the New Year with great enthusiasm. Celebrations are often centered in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, where a variety of Chinese cultural activities take place. One key feature is the traditional dragon and lion dance parade, which attract locals and tourists alike for their vibrancy and symbolism. Other rituals like setting off firecrackers and hosting banquets reflect the home traditions and are designed to drive away evil spirits and usher in a year of good fortune. The dates of the festival vary, aligning with the lunar calendar, which usually lies between January 21st and February 20th. The festivities typically last for 15 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival.

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Facts about Chinese New Year

  • Chinese New Year in 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit. In 2022 it was the Year of the Tiger, and in 2021 it was the Year of the Ox.
  • The names of the Chinese calendar are repeated every 60 years.
  • I wish you happiness that comes from within, the best of luck to keep you pushing and peace in all days of the New Year - Gong Xi Fa Cai, Popular New Year song
  • The first public Chinese New Year celebrations in the Netherlands can be traced back to the 1970s when Chinese entrepreneurs started to establish themselves in the country. They began organizing small-scale festivities, including Dragon and Lion Dance performances, to celebrate the New Year.
  • The Hague has one of the most significant Chinese New Year celebrations in the Netherlands, attracting more than 50,000 visitors each year.

Top things to do in Netherlands for Chinese New Year

  • Clean your house. It is customary for Chinese to clean their homes in preparation for the New Year and the fresh start.
  • Get together with friends and create a long dragon on sticks. One person gets to create the head, and the others can create the long flowy tail. Remember to use bright colors.

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