Chinese New Year, known in China as the Spring Festival, officially starts tomorrow.
With festivities lasting 15 days, and a week-long break for most workers, it’s the happiest time of year for over a billion people across China.
That is, unless you’re single.
Why it sucks being single in China
Inquisitive parents may take this opportunity to ask their single children about partners, in the hope that a wedding isn’t too far off.
Marriage, and having a family, is one of the pillars of Chinese society. Staying single beyond your late-20s is considered improper, and a big concern for parents.
Women, especially, who are approaching 30, often take desperate measures to put these pressures to rest. Some are spending thousands of dollars renting a boyfriend for a day or two over the holiday period.
Sui Wei, 29, rents himself out as a boyfriend to single women who are feeling the pressure from their parents to find a partner.
“I charge a modest fee for ordinary office workers, and more for really rich women,” Mr Wei told the Financial Times.
Recent analysis conducted by state broadcaster CCTV confirmed that this time of year can be stressful for single people. It revealed that the two most frequently asked questions over Chinese New Year are “Have you met someone?” and “Are you getting married?”.
Questions like these will have some singles running for the hills.
Year of the Monkey stamp sells out in the US
In other news, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is ringing in the Year of the Monkey by issuing the ninth of 12 stamps in its Celebrating Lunar New Year series.
It’s just the second time in the history of the USPS that a series of Lunar New Year stamps has been issued.
Don’t monkey around! In 2016, it’s the Year of the Monkey.
Daniel Piazza, chief curator of the National Postal Museum, said the new stamp sold out in an hour on Friday, the first day of sales.
“They’re really beautiful. And I think people like to collect them,” he said.
The series will continue until 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Rooster, Dog and Pig.
Holiday movie sets box office record
Kung Fu Panda 3, the third instalment of the world-famous franchise, has set a new high in box office records in China. It pocketed a cool 41.26 million yuan (US$6.27 million) from more than a million moviegoers in just three hours during a sneak preview session on January 23.
In a special move to tailor the film for the Chinese market, creator DreamWorks has crafted two versions of the film. The ‘normal’ version is dubbed by local movie stars, while the ‘tailored’ version features different animation to more accurately reflect the mouth movements and body language of the Chinese.
The release date of the movie has been perfectly timed with Chinese New Year.
For youngsters looking for a fun activity, or singles wanting to avoid questions from pesky parents, a trip to the cinema is a good option during the holiday period.
How do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Please comment below.