Tracking the Phases of the Moon for the Chinese New Year

February 10 is the Chinese New Year. It is also known as the Lunar New Year. It’s different from the traditional Western New Year—starting on January 1—because it is tied to the lunar calendar. The New Year starts with the first new moon after the end of January. It last for 15 days, until the first full moon shines in the sky. Each year, the Chinese/Lunar New Year is represented by an animal. For 2024, it is the Year of the Dragon. The last time it was the Year of the Dragon was in 2012. Before that, it was in 2000. The next Year of the Dragon will be in 2036.

The Chinese New Year dates back to approximately the 14th century BCE with the Shang Dynasty. The New Year was a time to celebrate the harvest. The Dragon is the 5th animal in the Chinese zodiac. People born during this year are characterized as strong and independent, but yearning for support and love (

Did you know? San Francisco, California, holds the biggest Chinese New Year parade outside of Asia. The city has hosted a Chinese New Year celebration since the 1860s. –

The Lunar Calendar charts the passage of time based on the cycle and phases of the Moon. The Moon is orbiting the Earth, while the Earth orbits the Sun. It takes the Moon 28 days to orbit around the Earth just once. This is called a lunar cycle. The lunar cycle is made up of 8 phases. The phases are, in order: new moon, waxing crescent, waxing half-moon, waxing gibbous, full moon, wanning gibbous, waning half-moon, and waning crescent. Download this free Phases of the Moon color mini poster and creative activity to help visualize the Lunar Cycle.

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