What You Need To Know about 元旦 (Yuándàn) New Year's Day in China
Posted by Mollan Mo on 2016-01-05 09:50:18 3059

Western New Year's Day in China

New Year's Day is here! Happy New Year! New Year's Day is an official holiday all over the world, but the celebration way varies among different countries. How does the New Year in China look like? How do Chinese people celebrate this day? Any legend or story behind New Year's Day in China, let's move on.

The origin of New Year's Day in China

Western New Year's Day in Chinese is usually called "元旦 (yuándàn)." The phrase 元旦 first appear in "晋书(Book of Jin)" of ancient China, but the meaning had been recoginized for over 4000 years. The first day of twelfth lunar month or October was celebrated as 元旦. Then it was celebrated on the first day of Lunar New Year since the reign of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty. When the formation of the Republic of China, 元旦 is on the day of Jan. 1st in Gregorian calenda. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Gregorian January 1 was renamed named 元旦节, with the aim of distinguishing the new year(新年xīn nián) in "农历 (nónglì) lunar calendar" and the "阳历 (yánglì) Gregorian calendar."

Why do Chinese call New Year "元旦 (yuándàn)"?

The Chinese Character"元 (yuán)" means "首(beginning, first place)" . For example, 元首(yuán shǒu) means the head of state. "旦 (dàn)" means "日(day, daybreak)". Character "旦 (dàn)" is a pictograph by putting"日(rì) sun" on the top, "一 (yī) " on the bottom, which can be regarded as a horizon. "日" and "一" partnered up to become the meaning "the sun is rising slowly from the horizon", which perfectly indicates the beginning of a new day. So, joining the two words together means the first day of year. It's a celebration of discarding old and bringing in new things.

Chinese Vocabulary related to "元"

happy western new year in Chinese

  • 元首yuán shǒu: head of state
  • 状元zhuàng yuán: principal graduate, primus, or optimus
  • 状元(zhuàng yuán) was the scholar who achieved the highest score on highest level of the Chinese imperial examinations.
  • 元帅(Yuán Shuài): marshal; supreme commander

zhè wèi yuán shuài kǎi xuán ér ɡuī
这位元帅凯旋而归
The marshal returned home in triumph.

Chinese vocabulary related to "旦"

* 通宵达旦tōng xiāo dá dàn: all night long

E.g: wǒ mánɡ dé tōnɡ xiāo dá dàn

我忙得通宵达旦

I was very busy overnight.

* 旦夕祸福dàn xī huò fú: unexpected good or bad fortune; Fortune is fickle.; sudden changes of fortune.

E.g: rén yǒu dàn xī huò fú, yuè yǒu yīn qínɡ yuán quē

人有旦夕祸福, 月有阴晴圆缺。

Men are subject to sudden changes of fortune as the moon is subject to the changes of being full and crescent, cloudy and clear.

How do Chinese people celebrate New Year's Day

Nowadays, New Year's Day becomes a "法定假日 (fǎdìng jiàrì) statutory holiday" in China. The people are rewarded with one day's vacation, then the holiday is usually before or after weekends, so usually people will get 3 days off. During this festival, people wish each other good luck in the New Year and exchange gift-cards. For Chinese young people, they usually join together, let off fireworks or attend New Year's Eve countdown party. Some TV stations, schools or companies will hold New Year's Gala to welcome and celebrate the coming of the new Year.

Chinese vocabulary relevant to New Year's Day in China

Chinese Character

pinyin

Translation

新年

xīn nián

New Year

元旦节

yuán dàn jiē

New Year's Day

元旦节快乐

yuán dàn jiē kuài lè

Happy New Year's Day

万事如意

wàn shì rú yì

All the best

年年有余

nián nián yǒu yú

Better than every year

一帆风顺

yì fān fēnɡ shùn

wish you prosperity

New Year's Day Greetings in Chinese

1. 祝你2016年一切顺利,新年元旦快乐!

Zhù Nǐ 2016 Nián Yì Qiè Shùn Lì, Yuán Dàn Kuài Lè!

I wish everything goes well with you in 2016. Happy New Year's Day.

2. 祝你平安健康,元旦快乐!

Zhù nǐ pínɡān jiàn kānɡ,yuándàn kuàilè!

I wish you a peaceful, healthy Year. Happy New Year's Day.

3. 元 旦 又 来 到 , 祝 福 忙 送 到 , 烦 恼 已 逃 跑 , 好 运 来 报 道 , 快 乐 围 你 绕 , 霉 运 找 不 到 。 新 的 一 年 , 愿 你 生 活 处 处 好 , 事 业 步 步 高

Yuándàn yòu lái dào, zhùfú mánɡ sònɡ dào, fán nǎo yǐ táopǎo, hǎoyùn lái bàodào, kuàilè wéi nǐ rào, méiyùn zhǎo bú dào. xīn de yìnián, yuàn nǐ shēnɡhuó chù chù hǎo, shìyè bù bù ɡāo.

New Year's Day is approaching, here comes my wishes. Trouble has run away, your life will be filled with good luck and happiness. In this New Year, I wish you a backgammon!

China is an ancient civilized country enjoying five thousand years of history. China has various and traditional festivals to celebrate every year, Chinese people celebrate the festivals in interesting but traditional way. Join our Chinese culture course to learn more about Chinese festivals and the legends behind each festival. You won't be disappointed.

About The Author

Related Articles

Get a FREE live 1-on-1 lesson
Begin your language journey

  • United States +1
  • United Kingdom +44
  • ‫افغانستان‬‎ +93
  • Shqipëri +355
  • ‫الجزائر‬‎ +213
  • American Samoa +1684
  • Andorra +376
  • Angola +244
  • Anguilla +1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda +1268
  • Argentina +54
  • Հայաստան +374
  • Aruba +297
  • Australia +61
  • Österreich +43
  • Azərbaycan +994
  • Bahamas +1242
  • ‫البحرين‬‎ +973
  • বাংলাদেশ +880
  • Barbados +1246
  • Беларусь +375
  • België +32
  • Belize +501
  • Bénin +229
  • Bermuda +1441
  • འབྲུག +975
  • Bolivia +591
  • Босна и Херцеговина +387
  • Botswana +267
  • Brasil +55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory +246
  • British Virgin Islands +1284
  • Brunei +673
  • България +359
  • Burkina Faso +226
  • Uburundi +257
  • កម្ពុជា +855
  • Cameroun +237
  • Canada +1
  • Kabu Verdi +238
  • Caribbean Netherlands +599
  • Cayman Islands +1345
  • République centrafricaine +236
  • Tchad +235
  • Chile +56
  • 中国 +86
  • Colombia +57
  • ‫جزر القمر‬‎ +269
  • Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo +243
  • Congo-Brazzaville +242
  • Cook Islands +682
  • Costa Rica +506
  • Côte d’Ivoire +225
  • Hrvatska +385
  • Cuba +53
  • Curaçao +599
  • Κύπρος +357
  • Česká republika +420
  • Danmark +45
  • Djibouti +253
  • Dominica +1767
  • República Dominicana +1
  • Ecuador +593
  • ‫مصر‬‎ +20
  • El Salvador +503
  • Guinea Ecuatorial +240
  • Eritrea +291
  • Eesti +372
  • Ethiopia +251
  • Islas Malvinas +500
  • Føroyar +298
  • Fiji +679
  • Suomi +358
  • France +33
  • Guyane française +594
  • Polynésie française +689
  • Gabon +241
  • Gambia +220
  • საქართველო +995
  • Deutschland +49
  • Gaana +233
  • Gibraltar +350
  • Ελλάδα +30
  • Kalaallit Nunaat +299
  • Grenada +1473
  • Guadeloupe +590
  • Guam +1671
  • Guatemala +502
  • Guinée +224
  • Guiné Bissau +245
  • Guyana +592
  • Haiti +509
  • Honduras +504
  • 香港 +852
  • Magyarország +36
  • Ísland +354
  • भारत +91
  • Indonesia +62
  • ‫ایران‬‎ +98
  • ‫العراق‬‎ +964
  • Ireland +353
  • ‫ישראל‬‎ +972
  • Italia +39
  • Jamaica +1876
  • 日本 +81
  • ‫الأردن‬‎ +962
  • Казахстан +7
  • Kenya +254
  • Kiribati +686
  • ‫الكويت‬‎ +965
  • Кыргызстан +996
  • ລາວ +856
  • Latvija +371
  • ‫لبنان‬‎ +961
  • Lesotho +266
  • Liberia +231
  • ‫ليبيا‬‎ +218
  • Liechtenstein +423
  • Lietuva +370
  • Luxembourg +352
  • 澳門 +853
  • Македонија +389
  • Madagasikara +261
  • Malawi +265
  • Malaysia +60
  • Maldives +960
  • Mali +223
  • Malta +356
  • Marshall Islands +692
  • Martinique +596
  • ‫موريتانيا‬‎ +222
  • Moris +230
  • México +52
  • Micronesia +691
  • Republica Moldova +373
  • Monaco +377
  • Монгол +976
  • Crna Gora +382
  • Montserrat +1664
  • ‫المغرب‬‎ +212
  • Moçambique +258
  • မြန်မာ +95
  • Namibië +264
  • Nauru +674
  • नेपाल +977
  • Nederland +31
  • Nouvelle-Calédonie +687
  • New Zealand +64
  • Nicaragua +505
  • Nijar +227
  • Nigeria +234
  • Niue +683
  • Norfolk Island +672
  • 조선 민주주의 인민 공화국 +850
  • Northern Mariana Islands +1670
  • Norge +47
  • ‫عُمان‬‎ +968
  • ‫پاکستان‬‎ +92
  • Palau +680
  • ‫فلسطين‬‎ +970
  • Panamá +507
  • Papua New Guinea +675
  • Paraguay +595
  • Perú +51
  • Philippines +63
  • Polska +48
  • Portugal +351
  • Puerto Rico +1
  • ‫قطر‬‎ +974
  • La Réunion +262
  • România +40
  • Россия +7
  • Rwanda +250
  • Saint-Barthélemy +590
  • Saint Helena +290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis +1869
  • Saint Lucia +1758
  • partie française) +590
  • Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon +508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines +1784
  • Samoa +685
  • San Marino +378
  • São Tomé e Príncipe +239
  • ‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎ +966
  • Sénégal +221
  • Србија +381
  • Seychelles +248
  • Sierra Leone +232
  • Singapore +65
  • Sint Maarten +1721
  • Slovensko +421
  • Slovenija +386
  • Solomon Islands +677
  • Soomaaliya +252
  • South Africa +27
  • 대한민국 +82
  • ‫جنوب السودان‬‎ +211
  • España +34
  • ශ්‍රී ලංකාව +94
  • ‫السودان‬‎ +249
  • Suriname +597
  • Swaziland +268
  • Sverige +46
  • Schweiz +41
  • ‫سوريا‬‎ +963
  • 台灣 +886
  • Tajikistan +992
  • Tanzania +255
  • ไทย +66
  • Timor-Leste +670
  • Togo +228
  • Tokelau +690
  • Tonga +676
  • Trinidad and Tobago +1868
  • ‫تونس‬‎ +216
  • Türkiye +90
  • Turkmenistan +993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands +1649
  • Tuvalu +688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands +1340
  • Uganda +256
  • Україна +380
  • ‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎ +971
  • United Kingdom +44
  • United States +1
  • Uruguay +598
  • Oʻzbekiston +998
  • Vanuatu +678
  • Città del Vaticano +39
  • Venezuela +58
  • Việt Nam +84
  • Wallis and Futuna +681
  • ‫اليمن‬‎ +967
  • Zambia +260
  • Zimbabwe +263
Privacy Policy:We take your privacy seriously.
Your information is secure with us. It will only
be used for free trial lesson coordination.

Want to receive regular Chinese language tips & trivia?