Ambrose Li

So exactly how many days are in the New Year?

Yesterday someone asked me: So exactly how many days are in the New Year?

It depends.

In Hong Kong, the New Year holiday is three days: from New Year’s Day to the third day of the New Year. Work customarily starts on the fourth day.

But the New Year doesn’t officially end until the fifteenth.

But it’s not odd to hold New Year dinners until the first month is over.


Because the New Year is so long, many days have special names.

Last Saturday was the second day of the New Year, called ˈhɔiˌnin (開年). Curiously, the term appears to mean “beginning of the year”.‍[Note 1]

The third day of the New Year is ˉtsɛkˊhɐu (赤口 ‘red-mouthed’). Tradition says it’s easy to get into quarrels on this day, therefore don’t visit friends and relatives. Obviously, we’re in a pandemic lockdown so no one’s going to visit anyone anyway, but isn’t it interesting this year ˉtsɛkˊhɐu is Valentine’s Day?

The seventh day of the New Year is ˌjɐnˊjɐt (人日 ‘the day of the human being’). It is said, “everyone is born on ˌjɐnˊjɐt.”

The fifteenth day of the New Year is the Lantern Festival (ˌjynˈsiu 元宵).

The first month is ˈdziŋˍjyt (正月 ‘the first month’), but when we say it’s not odd to have New Year dinners until the first month is over, the first month is often referred to as ˈsɐnˈdziŋˊtɐu (新正頭 ‘the new first’).

Notes

  1. 重編國語辭典 [Revised Dictionary of the National Language], s.v. “開年” [kāinián], accessed February 13, 2021, https://​www​.moedict​.tw/​%E9%96%8B%E5%B9%B4.

Tags

  • #Chinese New Year