Experience the Magic of Chinese New Year in Beijing: A Guide to Celebrating the 2024 Year of the Dragon
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China, marked by festive celebrations, family reunions, and cultural traditions.
If you’re in Beijing during the Chinese New Year period, you’re in for a treat.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the best ways to experience the magic of Chinese New Year in Beijing, from visiting temples to enjoying spectacular snow festivals to watching the super famous Spring Festival Gala.
So, ready to ring in the year of the dragon in style?
Chinese New Year in Beijing – Temple Fairs
Chinese New Year in Beijing – Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival
Chinese New Year in Beijing – Spring Festival Gala (+ Food!!)
Chinese New Year in Beijing – Firework and Light Show Displays
Chinese New Year in Beijing – FAQs
Chinese New Year Beijing – Temple Fairs
Beijing’s numerous temple fairs make essential visiting for those wanting to get a feel for traditional Spring Festival celebrations.
Dotted across the capital, the fairs are usually held from the first day of the lunar new year, varying in duration, some continuing until the Lantern Festival (15th day of the lunar calendar’s first month).
While the programs vary from fair to fair you’ll be sure to catch some traditional folk performances, taste local snacks and purchase local handicrafts.
One thing to bear in mind is that the fairs are very busy, so mentally prepare yourself. It might feel like this is where the whole of Beijing has been hiding during the holiday.
Here are 3 suggestions for fair-filled new year:
What to expect: sporting events including martial arts, ping pong, arm-wrestling, diabolo spinning, chess. Participation from spectators is encouraged, and snacks are easy to find.
Address: Longtan Park, 8 Longtan Road, Dongcheng District
Closest Subway: Tiantandongmen Station (Line 5)
Open: Around 8am to 5pm
Admission: ~10 CNY
Ditian Temple Fair:
What to expect: one of the most popular fairs across Beijing, be prepared for a variety of ‘intangible heritage performances’ including ceremonial shows, shadow puppetry, dragon and lion dances. There are local snacks too.
Address: Ditan Park, Anding Gate, Dongcheng District
Closest Subway: Yonghegong (Line 2 & 5)
Open: Around 8:30am to 5pm
Admission: ~10 CNY
Dongyue Temple Fair:
What to expect: celebration of all things ‘Fu’ (福 Good Fortune) – the Chinese character that you’ve probably see up-side-down more than any other – in as many ways as you can think of: pray for ‘fu’, write some ‘fu’ cards, take a walk down the ‘fu’ road, and eat some local snacks (of course).
Address: 141 Chaoyangmenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District
Closest Subway: Chaoyangmen Subway (Line 2 & 6 )
Open: Around 8am to 6pm
Admission: ~10 CNY
Other fairs for exploration:
- Changdian Temple Fair (Xuanwu District)
- Wuxiancaishen Temple Fair (Xicheng District)
- Baiyun Temple Fair (Xicheng District)
- Beihai Park Temple Fair (Xicheng District)
- Summer Palace Temple Fair (Haidian District)
- Old Summer Palace Temple Fair (Haidian District)
- Hongluo Temple Fair (Huairou District).
Please Note: prices and times are “guestimations” based on last year’s events, we’ll let you know for sure once the information is released.
Chinese New Year Vocab || 63 Must Know Words and Phrases
The essential guide to Chinese New Year vocab, with all the words and phrases you need to talk about Chinese New Year in Mandarin.
Chinese New Year Beijing – Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival
If you’re feeling like getting out of the city for a day and you couldn’t make it all the way to Harbin this winter, then Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival might be just the thing for you.
A couple of hours journey away, the Northwestern outskirts of Beijing hosts its very own Harbin-like exhibition of ice sculptures.
Every year from the 15th of January until the end of February hundreds of local and foreign-made ice sculptures are on display in the Longqing Scenic area.
The frozen sculptures are complemented by lights and in some cases, these light displays are made to resemble notable structures or famous places like the Great Wall. Usually there is a specific theme for each year.
The festival makes a great day or overnight trip from Beijing, but remember to wrap up warm!
Have a look at our Day Trips From Beijing blog for more day trip ideas!
Chinese New Year Beijing – Watch the Spring Festival Gala
If either braving the crowds or the cold isn’t for you, don’t worry as you can still experience the festival and cultural immersion from the comfort of your own sofa.
You can experience one of China’s more modern New Year’s Traditions by laying back, turning on your TV Set, and watching CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala.
TIP – In Chinese this is called 中央电视台春节联欢晚会 (zhōngyāngdiànshìtái chūnjiē liánhuān wǎnhuì), but this is generally shorted to 春晚 (Chūnwǎn).
The gala is an all encompassing variety show: Chinese opera, small comedic (debatable) sketches, power ballards, lion dances, acrobatics, magic shows, you name it, it’s probably been done.
The show begins at 8pm on the Lunar New Year’s Eve and goes on until after midnight.
If you’re looking for some showtime snacks while you watch the gala you could make yourself some 饺子 Jiǎozi.
Apart from being delicious, it’s a Chinese tradition to make and eat dumplings on new years eve.
This is because the word ‘jiaozi’ sounds like an old Chinese wording meaning to replacing the old with the new. Invite your friends round and make dumplings together, perfect for a new year!
PSST – Want to learn more? Check out our post on the must know Chinese New Year Vocab here.
Chinese New Year Beijing – Fireworks and Light Shows!
Watching fireworks is a popular way to celebrate Chinese New Year in Beijing, and the city is known for having some of the most spectacular displays in the world.
In recent years, we’ve started to see spectacular light and even drone shows appear around the city during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Here are some things to know about watching fireworks during Chinese New Year in Beijing:
- Dates and Times: Fireworks are typically set off on New Year’s Eve and during the first few days of the Chinese New Year period.
- Locations: Fireworks displays are held at several locations throughout Beijing, including parks, plazas, and other public spaces. Some popular spots include the Olympic Park, Tiantan Park, and the CBD area.
- Crowds: Fireworks displays in Beijing can draw huge crowds, so it’s important to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.
- Best Viewing Spots: Some of the best spots to watch fireworks in Beijing include high-rise buildings with rooftop access, such as the CCTV Tower and the China World Tower. You can also try watching from parks or other public areas with a clear view of the fireworks.
- Cultural Significance: In Chinese culture, fireworks are believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Watching fireworks during Chinese New Year is a way to participate in this cultural tradition and experience the festive atmosphere of the holiday.
Overall, watching fireworks is a thrilling and memorable way to celebrate Chinese New Year in Beijing, and a great opportunity to experience the city’s vibrant culture and traditions.
Chinese New Year – FAQ’s
When is Chinese New Year 2024?
Chinese New Year in 2024 is Saturday 10th February.
How do you say Happy New Year in Chinese?
Happy New Year in Chinese is 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè.
Is Chinese New Year the same as the Gregorian Calendar?
No. Chinese New Year is the celebration of the start of the new Lunar Calendar year. This festival is commonly referred to as Spring Festival in China and can take place anytime between late January and early March depending on the year.
How to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Beijing?
There’s a variety of ways to experience the magic of Chinese New Year in Beijing, from visiting temples to eating traditional foods to watching spectacular fireworks displays- there’s something for every taste!
How can I learn to talk about Chinese New Year in Chinese?
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