The origins of this name changing from “Chinese New Year” to “Spring Festival” includes a fascinating story and is not widely known to many.
During the time in old China, the Chinese New Year celebrations are almost the same with “Spring Festival” and it is normally a week’s long celebration. It is a week long of festivities with plenty or food and sights to behold. In most towns in China, the whole town will be mostly painted red with red decorations and people wearing all their new and red clothes.
During the year 1912, the newly formed Chinese Republic of China, governed by the Nationalist party, renamed the the Chinese New Year holiday to Spring Festival. The name change was done to get the Chinese people in China to adapt to celebrating the Western New Year instead.
During this period, many Chinese intellectuals felt that the idea of modernization was meant to be doing all the things as what the Western people did.
When the Communists took over power in some time in the year 1949, the celebration of the Western New Year was viewed as feudalistic and was not proper for an atheist China. Under the Chinese Communist Party, there were some years where the New Year was completely not celebrated at all.
By some time around the late 1980s, as China began liberalizing its big economy, the Spring Festival celebrations became a major business for many Chinese people.
China Central Television has held an annual New Year’s Gala ever since from the year 1982. It is still televised across the country every year and now via satellite to everyone in the world.
A few years ago, the Chinese government had announced that it would change its holiday system. The Tomb Sweeping Day and the Mid Autumn Festival would now be considered to have its holiday period reinstated. The May Day holiday would be shortened from a week to one day. The National Day holiday would be made two days instead of a week. The only week long holiday that was maintained is the Spring Festival. The reason for keeping Spring Festival holiday period might be perhaps even today, the fear of the “Nian” monster is still considered well and alive.