Do Chinese Make New Year Resolutions?

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is a time of joyous celebrations and age-old traditions observed by millions of people around the world. However, unlike the Western tradition of making New Year's resolutions, the Chinese don’t typically focus on self-improvement goals during this festive period. Instead, Chinese New Year offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the year gone by, pay respects to ancestors, and embrace the spirit of renewal and rejuvenation. While resolutions may not be a central part of the Chinese New Year festivities, the rich cultural heritage and symbolism associated with this occasion can undoubtedly inspire and guide us in setting meaningful goals for the year ahead. So, as we embark on this journey of self-discovery and growth, let’s delve into the world of Chinese traditions and perhaps find new perspectives on how we can make our resolutions more impactful and aligned with the essence of the Chinese New Year.

What Is Chinese New Year Resolution?

The tradition of making New Years resolutions isn’t common in Chinese culture. Unlike the Western practice of setting goals and making commitments at the beginning of the year, the Chinese New Year is a time for family gatherings and feasts, rather than personal reflection and self-improvement. However, this doesn’t mean that the Chinese don’t have aspirations or intentions for the year ahead.

Instead of making explicit resolutions, the Chinese tend to focus on the concept of renewal during the Lunar New Year. It’s a time to wipe away the old and welcome the new, symbolizing the opportunity for a fresh start. People may take the occasion to reflect on the goals and ambitions they set back during the Western New Years celebrations, and use this time to reevaluate and recalibrate their plans.

This is a time when individuals can silently reflect on their progress and make adjustments to their goals if necessary. So, next time you struggle with your Western-style resolutions, consider taking a lesson from the Chinese and embrace the concept of renewal and adaptation, just like the wise Snakes.

The concept of making New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to ancient Babylon where individuals made promises to the gods, hoping for favorable outcomes in the upcoming year. One common resolution among the Babylonians was to get out of debt, a goal that still resonates with many people today. In this article, we delve deeper into the history and significance of New Year’s resolutions, exploring how they’ve evolved over the centuries.

Where Did the Tradition of New Year’s Resolutions Come From?

In ancient Rome, the tradition of making promises at the start of the new year continued. The Romans would make promises to the god Janus, the deity of beginnings and transitions. These promises were seen as a way to gain his favor and ensure a prosperous year ahead. Similarly, the early Christians would make resolutions during the religious feast called Watch Night, which was celebrated on New Years Eve.

Over time, the tradition of making resolutions spread to different cultures and countries. Today, it’s a widespread practice observed by people all around the world. However, while New Years resolutions have become extremely popular in Western cultures, the concept may not be as prevalent in traditional Chinese culture.

In Chinese culture, the Lunar New Year is the most important festival, and it’s celebrated according to the traditional Chinese calendar. This holiday is a time for family reunions, feasts, and paying respects to ancestors. People often clean their homes to symbolize the sweeping away of bad luck and make way for good luck in the upcoming year. They also decorate their homes with red lanterns and couplets, which are traditional New Year decorations.

For example, many Chinese people will visit temples and pray for good fortune and blessings. They may also perform rituals to honor their ancestors and seek their guidance for the year ahead.

With globalization and increased exposure to Western traditions, some Chinese individuals may now choose to make their own personal resolutions during the Lunar New Year. Ultimately, cultural practices vary among individuals, and personal goals and aspirations can be set at any time of the year, regardless of cultural background.

What’s your New Year’s resolution in Japanese? Do you’ve any new year’s resolution? It’s called 新年の抱負! After wishing each other a Happy New Year, Japanese people often say this expression. It’s a tradition deeply rooted in Japanese culture, where individuals reflect on the past year and set goals for self-improvement in the coming year. Let’s explore the concept of 新年の抱負 and it’s significance in Japanese society.

What Is Your New Year’s Resolution in Japanese?

After wishing each other a Happy New Year, Japanese people often reflect on their goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. This reflection is encapsulated in the phrase “新年の抱負” (shinnen no hōfu), which translates to “New Years resolution” in English. Just like in many other cultures, making new years resolutions is a common practice in Japan.

The concept of 新年の抱負 holds a significant place in Japanese society, as it reflects the commitment to personal growth and self-improvement. People often take this opportunity to set goals in various aspects of their lives, such as health, relationships, or career. For example, individuals may resolve to exercise more regularly, learn a new skill, or spend more quality time with loved ones.

In addition to personal resolutions, many Japanese people also set goals related to their households or workplaces. These may include decluttering and organizing ones living space or setting targets for career advancement and professional development.

By setting and striving towards these resolutions, individuals aim to make positive changes in their lives and achieve a sense of fulfillment in the upcoming year.

Source: 新年の抱負 New Year’s resolution |

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to ancient times, with the ancient Babylonians being credited as the pioneers. Historically, they commemorated the start of the year in mid-March, coinciding with the onset of agricultural activities. While their customs and practices differed from the modern-day concept, their early recognition of the new year laid the groundwork for the tradition of setting goals and aspirations at the beginning of each year.

Who Was the First Thought to Traditionally Make Resolutions Each Year?

The tradition of making New Years resolutions can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians, who’re believed to have been the first people to engage in this practice. This historical civilization, dating back 4,000 years, held celebrations to mark the start of the new year. However, it’s important to note that their festivities didn’t align with January as the beginning of the year. Instead, the Babylonians recognized mid-March as the start of a new annual cycle, coinciding with the planting of crops.

For the Babylonians, making resolutions was a way to appease their gods and seek favor for the coming year. These resolutions typically involved paying off debts and returning borrowed items. By fulfilling these promises, the Babylonians hoped to start the year on a positive note and receive blessings from the divine realm.

Ancient Romans, for example, adopted this practice and made vows to the god Janus, the deity associated with beginnings and transitions, during their New Year celebrations in March.

Fast forward to today, and the tradition of making resolutions at the start of each year has become a global phenomenon. It’s commonly perceived as an opportunity for self-improvement and personal growth. While the exact practices and customs may vary, the underlying concept of setting goals and aspirations for the year ahead remains consistent.

In the case of Chinas New Year celebrations, which typically fall between late January and mid-February, making resolutions isn’t as commonly practiced. The emphasis during this festive period is more on family gatherings, feasting, and honoring ancestors. However, individuals may still set personal goals and aspirations for the coming year, but it may not be specifically tied to the New Year festivities themselves.

These resolutions were made to seek blessings and favor from their gods, as they marked the start of a new agricultural cycle. In the case of Chinese New Year, the focus is more on family and cultural traditions, but individuals may still set personal goals independently of the celebrations.


It encourages individuals to reflect on their relationships, family bonds, and overall well-being, emphasizing the importance of unity and harmony.

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