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Chinese New Year 2021-Year of the Ox

Dark red and gold floral chinese new year 2021 year of the ox / bull greeting. CNY
Chinese New Year the year of the OX

Chinese New Year will fall on Friday, 12th February this year. The date of CNY changes every year, as it follows the lunar calendar instead of the Georgian calendar that we are all used to. As you’ve probably guessed, this year is the year of the ox.

If you too celebrate Chinese New Year, there is still plenty of time to get yourself ready for the lunar New Year.  I know it won’t be the same with the Covid-19 pandemic still going on and events such as Chinese New Year Grand Parade in London and Spirit of the Orient at Robin Hill cancelled. Although don’t let it put you off from celebrating at home.

Yasmin next to a red glowing chinese dragon at robin hills spirit of the orient event for chinese new year.
My little girl next to a dragon in Robin Hill 2019

A little help to celebrate Chinese New Year

To help you celebrate this Chinese New Year aka the year of the OX, I’ve teamed up with my family to give you a 10% discount on all Hong Kong Express online orders between 8th & 12th February 2021 with the exclusive code ThriftyHK. We deliver across the Isle of Wight.

The thrifty island girl and hong kong express have collaborated for chinese new year aka spring festival to give readers a 10% discount on any online orders.
10% Hong Kong Express Discount code

How long does Chinese New Year last?

The 16 day celebration, starts from 11th February New Years Eve to 26th February ending with the lantern festival.

From 12th-22nd February 2021 is officially CNY also known as Spring Festival.

From 23rd-25th February 2021 preparations for the Chinese Lantern Festival takes place.

On 26th February 2021 the Lantern Festival will take place.  

How to prepare for Chinese New Year during “Little Year”?

Yasmin Holding Chinese new year decorations

During the week before CNY (from 4th February 2021) is 小年 XiaoNian, which literally translates to“Little Year”. During this special period Chinese people prepare for Chinese New Year, by cleaning their houses, decorating their doors with red & gold coloured posters with verses, paintings and put up red Chinese paper lanterns. They do this to welcome the Spring Festival and to keep evil away. People often buy new clothes to wear during the new lunar year.

If you’re planning on buying any Chinese New Year decorations, I recommend to purchase decorations without the zodiac animal or year printed on. That way you can reuse the decorations every year, save money as you won’t have to buy new ones every year and save the environment by creating less waste.

Why not make your own Chinese Paper Lanterns:

You could buy Chinese lanterns, but why not make your own? It could be a fun activity with the kids and it’s free. I tend to make these with my daughter Yasmin during XiaoNian to get her involved in the preparation ritual and keep her entertained. You could also make some CNY themed salt dough decorations. Check out How to make salt dough decorations, for the salt dough recipe.

What do people do during CNY?

Chinese New Year firecrackers & fireworks

Usually there are fireworks and firecrackers during New Years Eve, to bring good luck and scare away bad spirits and bad luck.

CNY decorations

Yasmin standing between large red lego doors with golden studs for chinese new year in Hong Kong
Giant red Lego Doors with golden studs

In China and Kong Kong many buildings such as shopping malls, streets and homes are decorated in red or have some sort of decorations related to CNY. The colour red is believed to bring good luck, joy and good fortune.

Lei Hang and daughter Yasmin in front of a giant golden Chinese dragon lego sculpture in New Town Plaza shopping Mall in Hong Kong, Sha Tin
Golden giant chinese dragon lego sculpture

In 2018 I’ve visited Hong Kong with Yas during Chinese New Year. Yasmin loved the giant Chinese dragon Lego sculpture in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, Hong Kong and has noticed even the Lego characters were holding red envelopes. 2018 was the year of the Dog.

Lego Chinese New Year in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin Hong Kong. Lei Hang daughter posing a lego character holding an orange and a red envelope also known as lucky money and a dog in 2018. Year of the dog

The red envelope (Hong Bao)

The red envelop is called Hong Bao, which literally translates to red pocket. You may also hear cantonese people calling it “Lai See”. The red pockets are usually given to kids and elderly by their parents, grandparents, extended family and close family friends.The red envelope contains lucky money and are given to individuals to wish them luck, happiness and blessings.

Family reunion dinner

The whole family, including extended family meet for a reunion feast. Many even travel very long distances. For instance in 2018 I’ve travelled from UK to Hong Kong with my family to celebrate with Chinese New Year with my extended family and my grandmother , who unfortunately passed away after 2 weeks since seeing her. I was very close to my grandmother, that I’ve made sure I would travel to Hong Kong annually to see her.

Lei Hang and Yasmin visiting Grandmother during Chinese New Year in a care home in Tai Po Hong Kong.
The last time I saw my lovely grandma with Yasmin. RIP Po Po