Spring Festival, commonly known as Chinese New Year, kicks off this week. So what is this festival all about?
Year of the Pig
According to Chinese zodiac, each new year is celebrated with 1 of 12 animals. In 2019 it’s the pig.
People born in the Year of the Pig are often described as diligent, compassionate and having a beautiful personality.
Spring Festival Gala
The televised annual CCTV Gala kick-starts the festival.
Notorious for carrying official propaganda, it's a mix of Chinese culture, commerce and politics. It has a cult following and goes for four hours!
Never-ending sound of firecrackers
To celebrate the lunar new year, firecrackers are let off by locals during the day and all through the night.
Walking along the street can be like navigating a minefield, so take care! You might need to buy earplugs if you want a good night’s sleep.
Across China, there are impressive and well-choreographed fireworks displays.
Food, glorious food
People spend Chinese New Year with their loved ones eating home-cooked favourites.
Fish (pronounced “yu”) is particularly popular as it sounds like the word for surplus (also pronounced “yu”). So if you want loads of money and luck this year, make sure you eat plenty of fish!
Eat fish during Chinese New Year for good fortune.
Painting the town red
This expression takes on a whole new meaning when you’re in China for Chinese New Year.
Chinese people believe that the color red represents luck and good fortune in the coming year. It’s also believed to scare away evil spirits.
People enjoy wearing red clothes (including underwear) and hang red lanterns and red decorations in their homes and streets.
Children, and sometimes single adults, are given red envelopes containing money. It's all part of the tradition.
Longest holiday in China
In 2019, the official holiday period is February 4 to February 10. These dates change each year due to the lunar calendar.
No matter the date, Chinese New Year is always the longest and most special public holiday in China.
To take such a long break, however, Chinese workers have to work on the weekend before it begins.
Getting around…or not
Spring Festival is one of the world’s greatest annual migrations, with hundreds of millions of people travelling massive distances at the same time.
Long-distance bus and train tickets are snapped up quickly as people are desperate to get to their hometown in time.
It’s best to avoid any non-essential travelling of your own.
You’ll also find most businesses and tourist attractions are closed over the new year – another good reason to stay put for a few days.
Wherever you are this Chinese New Year, enjoy the festivities and take care. Happy new year!
How do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Please comment below.