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Chinese New Year 2021 key dates: How will it be celebrated in 2021?

MILLIONS of people across the world will now be preparing for the most important event in the Chinese calendar.

Chinese New Year celebrations will look a little different in 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact daily life across the world.

Chinese New Year 2021 key dates

The Chinese New Year – also known as the Spring Festival – lasts for 16 days, starting from Chinese New Year's Eve to the Lantern Festival.

Each day of the festival has a name, including days for prayer, for visiting relatives, setting off firecrackers, and preparing for the Lantern Festival.

Here are the key dates:

  • February 11 – Chinese New Year's Eve

This is often viewed as the most important celebration as it includes the family reunion dinner, and staying up until midnight.

  • February 12 – New Year's Day

New Year's Day is spent visiting family, and giving presents.

  • February 26 – Lantern Festival

This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year when lanterns are lit and hung, and people watch dragon dances in the street.

How do people celebrate Chinese New Year?

Millions of people celebrate Chinese New Year across the world, bringing a period of colourful decorations and feasting.

The event is usually celebrated with parades and performances, with people in traditional costumes and plenty of fireworks.

In line with the introduction of the spring season, people plant harvests and eat lavish feasts.

Noodle soup is the traditional meal of choice as the noodles are believed to bring luck.

Communal hotpots are also a popular option for a feast as they are thought to represent the reunion of family members around the table.

The Lunar calendar has 12 Chinese zodiac animal signs and as 2021 will be a year of the Ox, decorations related to ox will be commonly seen.

People deep clean their homes before the New Year as it is bad luck to sweep your home on the day itself in case good luck for the year is swept out of the house.

Money and presents are also given and received in red envelopes and packaging to ward off evil.

As a public holiday, Chinese people get seven days off work for the celebrations.

Businesses and schools shut down during the New Year period – like they do in the UK over the Christmas period – and many factories have a two-week shutdown.

Beyond China, families in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Tibet, Mauritius, North Korea and South Korea also celebrate the event.

It is widely believed that the most fireworks are set off across the world for this festival than any other.

How will Chinese New Year be celebrated in 2021?

Social distancing restrictions mean Chinese New Year will feel very different in 2021.

Many Chinatowns will feel eerily quiet as the majority of public events have been cancelled and gone virtual for the first time.

Families who are able to get together for the celebrations will still be able to share gifts, and cook a feast for the important family dinner.

Depending on where you are in the world, some celebrations will still go ahead.

For example, Sydney has planned more than 80 events from February 12 to 21, including socially-distanced markets and cultural performances.

There will also be celebrations in Melbourne – but the parade through Chinatown has been cancelled.

In the UK, all public events for Chinese New Year 2021 have been cancelled amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

In China, measures have been put in place to discourage people travelling home to their families during the pandemic.

These include cash gifts, additional streaming gigabytes and free entry to local tourist attractions, Financial Times reports.

In Taiwan, crowd control measures have been introduced to limit the spread of coronavirus, and the reopening of schools has been delayed until after the New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is offering a free Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration in partnership with the Chinese Cultural Institute and the Chinese Embassy.

Depending on the current coronavirus restrictions in each country, Chinese New Year celebrations will look a little different in each corner of the world.

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