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Chinese New Year – China's Grandest Festival & Longest Public Holiday

Views:8     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-01-07      Origin:https://chinesenewyear.net/21-things-you-didnt-know-about-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the grandest festival in China, with a 7-day long holiday. As the most colorful annual event, the traditional CNY celebration lasts longer, up to two weeks, and the climax arrives around the Lunar New Year's Eve.


China during this period is dominated by iconic red lanterns, loud fireworks, massive banquets and parades, and the festival even triggers exuberant celebrations across the globe.
 chinese new year

When is Chinese New Year 2020? - January 25

The Chinese New Year of 2020 falls on January 25th (Saturday), and the festival will last to February 8th, about 15 days in total. 2020 is a Year of the Rat according to Chinese zodiac.

 

As an official public holiday, Chinese people can get seven days' absence from work, from January 24th to 30th.

 

How long is Chinese New Year holiday?

The legal holiday is seven days long, from the Lunar New Year's Eve to the sixth day of the first lunar month.

Some companies and public institutions enjoy a longer holiday up to 10 days or more, because in common knowledge among Chinese people, the festival lasts longer, from the Lunar New Year's Eve to the 15th day of the first lunar month (Lantern Festival).

 chinese new year 1

16Things You Didn’t Know About Chinese New Year


1. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival

In China, you'll hear it being called chunjie , or the Spring Festival. It’s still very wintry, but the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.

 

2.There's no set date for Chinese New Year

According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is on January 1st and lasts until the 15th (the full moon). Unlike western holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you try to calculate it with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the date is all over the place.

 

The lunar calendar is still really important in China, even though it has officially moved to the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. All traditional holidays and days such as the Winter Solstice are celebrated. Some people still calculate their birthdays and ages according to the lunar calendar too!

 chinese new year calendar

3.The most fireworks are set off in the world that night

As in the myth about Nian, firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck. So people stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck.

 

That same night, families also burn fake paper money and printed gold bars in honor of their deceased loved ones. Similar to the Korean Chuseok holiday or the Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, they believe the offerings will bring fortune and good luck to their ancestors in the afterlife.


Both firecrackers and fireworks sound throughout the night.


4.The Spring Festival causes the largest human migration in the world

The most important part of Chinese New Year is the family reunion. Everyone should come back home for the New Year’s Eve dinner.

 

But since in modern China, most elderly parents live in rural villages while their children work in the cities. The migration back home and to go on vacation is called chunyun, or Spring Migration.

Plus, the earliest you can buy train tickets is 60 days before. It leads to a mad rush of literally fighting for tickets. In 2015, statistics showed that around 1,000 tickets were sold each second.

argest human migration in the world


5. Singles hire fake boy/girlfriends to take home

You know those nosy relatives during Thanksgiving? It's even worse in China. Especially since having children and passing down the family name is one of the most important parts in Chinese culture.

 

Some desperate singles resort to hire a fake boyfriend or girlfriend to take home. Those who can’t (or don’t want to) go home can rent themselves out. For some of the other questions though, such as your salary, career or when you want to have kids, can’t be helped.

 

6.No showering, sweeping or throwing out garbage allowed!

Showering isn’t allowed New Year’s Day. Sweeping and throwing out garbage isn’t allowed before the 5th. This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck!

 

On the other hand, there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This day is to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good.

 

7.Chinese New Year closed salon

Most hair salons are closed during the entirety of Chinese New Year because hair cutting is taboo.

What else is taboo during Chinese New Year?


· Hair cutting

· Using scissors, knives and other sharp things

· Arguing, swearing

· Saying unlucky words (such as “death” and “sickness”)

· Breaking things

· Check out our full list of taboos to learn more.

 

8.Children receive lucky money in red envelopes

In other cultures, children receive gifts for holidays. Gifts are also exchanged during the Spring Festival. But Chinese children receive something else too—red envelopes.


Chinese New Year red pockets with lucky money

Depending on the family, the children can get up 1000 CNY (around $150) per envelope.

Also called red packets or pockets, they include money. This money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to the kids. They can also be given between bosses and employees, co-workers, and friends.

 

With the development of technology, digital red pockets are the trend now. People like to send one into group chats and watch the others fight for the money. This is called qiang hongbao (抢红包), or literally “snatching red pockets”.

 lucky money in red envelopes

9. You eat dumplings for every meal, every day

Well, technically you’re supposed to. But not many people do that anymore because you can have too much of even the most delicious foods. So most people will eat dumplings during the New Year’s Eve dinner. Others will eat them for the first breakfast.

Chinese New Year dumplings

Dumplings with Chinese New Year decorations.

Contrary to popular belief though, dumplings aren't popular everywhere in China. It's more of a northern thing. In the South, people would rather eat spring rolls (egg rolls) and balls of glutinous rice in soup called tangyuan (汤圆).



 chinese-new-year-dumplings

 

10. Chinese New Year desserts have special meanings

A lot cultures have symbolic foods, such as the Yule Log cake. But so many Chinese New Year desserts have special meanings behind them. And it’s mostly puns in the name.


Home is the principal focus of the Spring Festival. All Chinese people manage to make their way home at the latest by New Year's Eve, for a reunion dinner with the whole family. The essential course on all Chinese menus for a reunion dinner will be a steamed or braised whole fish, representing a surplus every year. Various kinds of meat, vegetable, and seafood are made into dishes with auspicious meanings. Dumplings are indispensable for northerners, while rice cakes for southerners. The night is spent enjoying this feast along with cheerful family talk and laughter. Read more Chinese New Year Foods.


 

11.Watching CCTV New Year's Gala – 20:00 to 0:30

CCTV New Year's GalaIt is undeniable that the CCTV New Year's Gala is China's most watched television special, despite the declining viewership in recent years. The 4.5-hour live broadcast features music, dance, comedy, opera, and acrobatic performances. Although the audience becomes more and more critical of the programs, that never stops people turning on the TV on time. The delightful songs and words act as a habitual background to a reunion dinner, for after all it's been a tradition ever since 1983.

 CCTV New Years Gala


12.Setting off Firecrackers at 0:00

Firework ShowThere is New Year bell on the TV gala at 0:00, but you can hardly hear it since there would be loud bangs of firecrackers, from 0:00 to 0:30 and even later. Chinese people have by long tradition set off firecrackers, originally to scare away the legendary monster Nian which emerges at midnight. In recent years, many urban areas have a firecracker ban or set special area or period for fireworks, to prevent accidents and threats to air quality.

 

13.Half-month Visiting Relatives – from One Family to Another

Visiting RelativesAfter a day at home, people start to visit relatives from the second day of the New Year. The married couples go to visit the wife's parents' home on the second day. The following days will be spent in various relatives' houses. For some extended families in rural areas, half a month is barely enough to visit everyone. People bring gifts to one another's homes and give red envelopes to the kids. That's a ritual. Get inspired by more Chinese New Year Gift Ideas.

Visiting Relatives

14.The New Year greeting in Chinese is “xin nian kuai le”

The phrase literally means “Happy New Year.” But in Hong Kong and other Cantonese-speaking regions, it's more common to say “gong hei fat choy.” In Mandarin Chinese, it's “gong xi fa cai” (恭喜发财). It means “congratulations on the fortune.”

 

15.Chinese New Year calligraphy blessings

Calligraphy with New Year blessings.

If you check out other greetings or blessings, you’ll see that most are about:

·Plentiful harvests

·Wealth and fortune

·Health and longevity

·Having children and large families

Food, money and health are things that everyone wants. Passing down the family name is of utmost importance. That’s one of the reasons why China has such a large population.


16. Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival

The first full moon of the (lunar) year is the Yuanxiao Festival (元宵节—yuán xiāo jié) or Lantern Festival (灯节—dēng jié). Though family is still important, it’s still a night of partying and freedom.

 

Chinese New Year colorful lanterns

Lanterns come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

In ancient times, girls weren’t allowed to venture outside by themselves. But on this night, they were able to walk around, moon-gaze and look at the beautiful lanterns. Because of this, it’s also known as Valentine’s Day in China.

Lantern Festival


Cited from :

https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/rat.htm

https://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/chinese-new-year.htm

https://chinesenewyear.net/21-things-you-didnt-know-about-chinese-new-year/


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