Happy Chinese Niu Year! 🐂

Chinese New Year is approaching and with that the year of the rat (or mouse) is coming to an end and the year of the ox is about to start! What does it mean? What happens on Chinese new year?

What does the bull mean?

This Year is the Year of the Ox or Bull. What does the Ox mean? The following is from China Highlights:

Oxen used to be capable farming tools in an agricultural society, which attach to the symbol of diligence, persistence, and honesty. In Chinese culture, Ox is a faithful friend that made great contributions to the development of the society. Like the ox, people born in the Year of the Ox are industrious, cautious, hold their faith firmly, and always glad to offer help.

It is said that Ox ranks the second among the Chinese zodiacs because it helped the Rat but was later tricked by it. The myth goes that the Jade Emperor declared the order of zodiac signs would be based on the arrival orders of 12 animals. Ox could have arrived the first but it kindly gave a ride to Rat. However, when arriving, Rat just jumped to the terminus ahead of Ox, and thus Ox lost the first place”

This is a Year of Metal Ox, starting from Feb. 12, 2021 and lasting to Jan. 31, 2022. Ox is the second in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac sign. Years of the Ox include 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033…

You can read more about the Ox and its meaning on the China Travel Guide here. You can also read more here on China Highlights here.

What happens in Chinese New Year?

Angela from Beijing Language and Culture University Online Education College is giving you a short crash course on Chinese New Year. BLCU Online Education College has some of the most popular online Chinese programs.

Chinese New Year or 春节(chūnjié, Spring Festival) is China’s most important festival and holiday. The Chinese New Year’s date is decided by the Chinese lunar calendar, and it changes every year. It falls on February 14th this year. Each Chinese year is associated with an animal sign according to the Chinese zodiac. The coming new year is a year of Bull, 牛年(niunián). Hence why we our title says “Chinese Niu Year”

This is what happens on Chinese New Year

Chinese people have a tradition to have a family reunion and have dinner together on Chinese New Year’s eve. That dinner is called 年夜饭 (niányèfàn). In the North, Chinese dumplings, 饺子(jiǎozi), are the must-eat food on Chinese New Year’s Eve. But southern Chinese people would like to eat 年糕(niángāo), rice cake or汤圆(tāngyuán), balls of glutinous rice.

饺子(jiǎozi)
年糕(niángāo)
汤圆(tāngyuán)


It is an important custom to set off firecrackers and fireworks during the Chinese New Year period. In traditional Chinese culture, firecrackers or 鞭炮(biānpào) were originally used to scare away evil spirits. I still remember my grandfather ask my father to set off a string of firecrackers while he is boiling dumplings for the New Year’s Eve dinner every year when I was a child.

Like at Christmas in other countries, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival.The most common New Year gifts are red envelopes, 红包(hóngbāo). 红包(hóngbāo) are traditionally given to the small kids or unmarried children in the family by elder generations. They have money in, and are believed to bring good luck because they are red. Nowadays smart phones are widely used in China. Chinese people also use Wechat 微信(wēixìn) or Alipay支付宝(zhīfùbǎo) to send red envelopes to their family and friends.

Do you have a Chinese friend? Do you know what you should say when you meet Chinese people during the Chinese New Year? These three sentences may helps:

过年好(Guò nián hǎo)!Happy Chinese New Year!

恭喜发财(Gōngxǐ fācái)!May you be happy and prosperous!

狗年大吉(Gǒu nián dà jí)!Good luck in the year of dog!

There is so much more to learn about Chinese culture. The best way to do so is by actually learning the language. If you are interested in learning the language, make sure to check the available programs from Beijing Language and Culture University here.

China Admissions During Chinese New Year

Many of the universities are having a holiday but we are still available to support you to choose courses and apply (although please expect slightly slower response time).

If you are not sure whether to apply, it is always better to apply earlier to increase your chances, we will review your application as soon as possible.

You can choose courses here:

Wish you a happy and successful new year!

Founder and CEO at China Admissions. Originally from UK🇬🇧, based in Beijing. Studied at Peking University & BLCU. Preparing for HSK 6. Hope we can help more talented international students have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that I have had
Richard Coward

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