10 Interesting Facts About Chinese New Year
I love New Year. To me, it’s like a bonus holiday after Christmas. While Christmas is a time for friends, family, merriment, romance, and lots of food and drink, New Year is a time for … even more of that!!
And if you’re savvy enough, you could get the chance to enjoy another holiday not too long after New Year in the form of the Chinese New Year. These holidays just never end!
The Chinese New Year doesn’t fall on January 1 – in fact, it falls on a different date each year. In China, it’s actually spring, so whatever date it falls on you’re probably going to be warm (if you’re in China, that is).
If like me you have a friend who each year tells you they’re going to be celebrating Chinese New Year, leaving you asking “for real?”, you’re probably by now a bit curious to find out more about it. So let’s take a look at 10 interesting facts about the Chinese New Year.
The Date Changes Each Year
The Chinese clearly enjoy the element of surprise, and they probably think it’s a bit boring that we always welcome in the New Year on the exact same date at the exact same time each and every year.
(and it does sound a bit boring when I put it like that)
And so the Chinese – relying on their lunar calendar – do not have a fixed date for their New Year.
However, there are boundaries, and it’s always celebrated between January 21st and Feb 20th. They’re not so crazy as to randomly celebrate it in August.
It Typically Lasts For Fifteen Days
If you want to celebrate the Chinese New Year in true Chinese style in China, you’ll need plenty of stamina, as the celebration lasts for over two weeks.
It’s okay, though, as there will be plenty of things to do. It isn’t like Europe or America, where the main aim is to get onto the shots as soon as possible! You’ll be just fine.
There is only one actual New Years Day, though, and it’s a public holiday throughout many parts of Asia, including Indonesia and the Philippines.
It’s Also Know As Spring Festival
Unfortunately, our New Year is not known as the Spring Festival, and it certainly doesn’t herald any warmer, spring-like weather. If anything, the weather just seems to get even colder after New Year’s Day!
But China is a bit different and the Chinese New Year often falls during the so-called start of spring.
This is cool because New Year really gives the Chinese something to look forward to – warmer weather!!
It’s Very Family Oriented
If you’ve got an image of thousands of Chinese flocking to the streets to watch parades of dragons moving through the streets accompanied by a brass band, you’d be totally wrong. The celebrations are actually nothing like this. Instead, they mostly take place at home.
New Year in China is very much a time for family, and many Chinese make huge efforts to travel up and down the country to see their loved ones for this very special time of the year.
New Year Marks The Year Of An Animal
Our New Year just makes the year of a different number. This year was the year of the number 2016, while next year is 2017’s time to shine.
The Chinese are a bit more creative, though.
You’ve probably heard that China likes to name its years after an animal. 2016, for example, was the Year of the Monkey. This is because their zodiac cycle is home to twelve animals, each of which deserve their own year every now and then.
Yep, the Chinese believe strongly in astrology. I just hope you haven’t annoyed any monkeys this year and ruined their Year.
A Clean House Is A Lucky House
The Chinese are well-known for harbouring a few superstitions, and one of them is that their houses should always be as clean as possible on New Years.
Why? Because it brings good luck!
Unlike a disorderly house, which brings with it bad luck and even dishonour.
So don’t forget to get the vacuum out!
Lots Of Money Is Exchanged
The Chinese have a few customs that have been practised for hundreds of years. One of their most curious New Years customs is the red envelope exchange.
Basically, anyone can hand anyone a red envelope.
But there is a catch – it must contain cash.
In China, you’ll see young people giving older people red envelopes and vice versa, bosses giving them to their employees and so on. Think of it as a New Year’s bonus and showing people that you care about them.
Red Is A Lucky Colour
In fact, it isn’t just the envelopes of cash that are red during the Chinese New Year – pretty much everything is red, from decorations in the houses to paper messages.
Red is held in high esteem in China, where it’s considered to be a lucky colour.
The Nation Gets Moving
China is a BIG country that is home to over one billion people. With schools given around a month off and universities even more than that, it means there are lots of people out there ready to celebrate in a big way.
To make the celebrations extra special, lots of people make the effort to visit their friends and family during New Year. As such, the nation gets moving, and it’s estimated that around 4% of Chinese people travel during the holidays, which equates to an incredible 3,500,000,000 journeys!
In America, not even 100,000,000 people travel during the Christmas holidays, and when they do they don’t cover as much distance as the Chinese.
No One Does Fireworks Like China
We associate New Years with fireworks, but no one on earth does fireworks like China because this nation is actually home to the fireworks industry.
Expect lots of organised events and displays (literally thousands), as well as a few fireworks being set off in your neighbours garden.