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Chinese New Year

Authored by British Online Archives
Published on 31st January, 2022 2 min read

Chinese New Year

A poster for Chinese New Year, featuring a tiger.

The whole team at British Online Archives would like to wish all our customers a happy Lunar New Year. When the clock strikes 00:00 on February 1st, China’s population and its worldwide diaspora will celebrate the coming of the Year of the Tiger. Unlike the Western Gregorian calendar, based on the Earth’s orbit around the sun, Chinese New Year is determined by the moon’s orbit around the Earth. Thus, it is also known as the Lunar New Year. 

It was over 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty that the date for New Year celebrations was fixed to the first day of the first lunar month. Since then, customs and traditions to celebrate the coming of a New Year have organically sprouted up, encompassing 15 days of festivities. Spending time with family and friends, sharing a feast, setting off firecrackers, and partaking in dragon dances are just some of the manifestations of the Lunar New Year in China and across East Asia. 

The celebration of the Lunar New Year did have a troubled period after Mao Zedong started the Cultural Revolution in 1967. Mao and other leaders of the Cultural Revolution strongly discouraged citizens from celebrating, claiming that events were feudalistic and backwards. Instead, citizens were encouraged to join the revolutionary efforts to increase industrial production and root out ‘capitalist influences’ in wider society. After the chaos and fear of the Cultural Revolution had passed with Mao’s death in 1976, the traditional celebrations of the Lunar New Year were reinstated in 1980. 

In the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we wish all those celebrating the Lunar New Year a safe and happy time.

Authored by British Online Archives

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