When Is the Chinese New Year? How to Celebrate the 2018 Year of the Dog

UPDATED | Unlike the American New Year celebration, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16, 2018 and marks the beginning of a new lunar according to the traditional Chinese calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. 

The annual Chinese holiday is known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. Each year is represented by a zodiac animal on the lunar-solar Chinese calendar. As China ushers out 2017 as the Year of the Rooster, citizens are readying to welcome 2018 as the Year of the Dog. The Spring Festival in China is celebrated for several months as a time to gather with family and hope for good fortune in the upcoming year.

Mei Li, the marketing manager of Chinese Community Center in Houston, Texas, told Newsweek that people celebrate the Lunar New Year in America with a combination of regional traditions — grouping together the northern Chinese tradition of eating dumplings and a southern Chinese dragon and lion dances.

"We bring all of the traditions together," Li told Newsweek. "Personally, because I grew up in China celebrating the New Year, for us even now in 2018, we don't feel like it's the New Year. I still feel like I'm waiting for the New Year to come. It's how we feel after all the years of tradition."

The 2018 Chinese New Year celebration will end with the Spring Lantern Festival on March 2, 2018. Corresponding Chinese cultural celebrations happen across the world during the time of the Chinese New Year celebration.

1231_Chinese_New_Year Visitors walk underneath decorations reflecting 2018’s Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. Unlike the American New Year celebration, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16, 2018 and marks the beginning of a new lunar according to the traditional Chinese calendar.  TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Americans took particular notice of the Year of the Rooster in 2016 when newly elected President Donald Trump was illustrated as a 32-foot-tall rooster, with golden hair and one index finger pointed to the sky. Former American presidents, including President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, have wished China a Happy New Year, but, unlike Trump, they were not widely represented as zodiac animals. 

The tradition continued in 2017, with Trump depicted as a giant dog statue with furrowed golden eyebrows and golden hair flipped upward near the front. The “Trump Dog” is on display in a shopping mall in the city of Taiyuan, in Shanxi province in northern China, according to China Plus News. If continued, Trump would be displayed as a pig in 2019 and a rat in 2020.

1225_Donald_Trump_Chinese President Donald Trump is represented as a giant dog statue on display in China ahead of the Chinese New Year celebration in February. Trump would be displayed as a pig in 2019 and a rat in 2020. Twitter/China Plus News

The Chinese Year of the Dog could be particularly noteworthy for Trump, who was born in the Year of the Dog. The anniversary of an individual birth sign is said to signal a year of good fortune. Trump, who was born in 1946, shares his birth year and Chinese zodiac sign with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

"Each animal has different meanings, but we think people born in dog years are very sincere, they're very loyal to friends," Li told Newsweek. "Of course, it's a little superstitious, but we enjoy it."

This article has been updated to include comments from the Chinese Community Center of Houston, Texas.

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