Enjoy the Chinese New Year with 8 fascinating facts!
11th January 2017
With the Chinese New Year coming soon, we thought we would get in the spirit by letting everyone enjoy some interesting facts about this widely-celebrated event. As you will no doubt be able to deduct, the Chinese New Year is not observed when we, in the western world celebrate it, but we don’t want to give away too much more, so get your oriental biscuits at the ready, read on, and enjoy these fascinating insights!
No set date
While the UK observes the New Year on the eve of January 1ST, the date for Chinese New Year changes annually. While the Chinese New Year will always falls between January 21st and February 20th, the exact date is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar, each year. This year, January 28th is the official date of the Chinese New Year.
New animal’s zodiac year
Every Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new animal's zodiac year. This is an extremely old custom, which see each Chinese New Year being named by one of 12 animals in their zodiac cycle. 2017 is the year of the Rooster. This ties in nicely with the fact that any Chinese people still have strong affiliations with astrology as well as other New Year superstitions.
Oddly, and even though it occurs in the winter, the Chinese refer to their New Year holidays as the 'Spring Festival' (chūnjié /chwnn-jyeah/ 春节). Why? Well, this is explained by the fact that the 'Start of Spring' (4th–18th February) is the first of the terms in the traditional solar calendar. Even with the winter season’s weather continuing, the Chinese 'Start of Spring' is a point that marks the end of the coldest part of winter, traditionally a time when the Chinese were able to start looking forward to the beginning of the spring season.
Celebrated by many
The heading of this next fact is quite the understatement, as Chinese New Year is an event that is celebrated by 1/5 of Planet Earth’s human population!
Furthermore, this time is China's winter vacation week, similar to that of the period between Christmas and New Year's Day that the UK and other countries observe. Children attending school in China are treated to around a month off, while university students receive even more time off!
London’s famous Chinese New Year celebrations
Back in 2015, a staggering 500,000 people congregated to celebrate the Chinese New Year in London's Chinatown, as well as Trafalgar Square, and the streets of central London!
Chinese New Year is hard going for "old" singles!
Chinese New Year is most definitely a joyous moment in the calendar, but for those singles who are over the ‘normal’ matrimonial age it can be slightly more awkward, while being amusing for the younger siblings! Parents and relatives think singletons should be settled down by the age of 30, or 32 if you are male, when residing in China.
So, as a result, New Year's Eve is a time when the embarrassing interrogations of the singles takes place! It’s widely known that parents can take matters into their own hands and arrange dates, with a view to marriage, for their unattached children.
For those who are keen to avoid the interrogation from their families, renting a boyfriend or girlfriend for the New Year has become a popular option for single Chinese men and women alike.
Travel hits peak levels
During the festive New Year period, some 200 million Mainland Chinese people will travel long distances as part of the holidays. So much so, that it has been cited that in the region of 3.5 billion journeys are carried out in China! To put this into perspective, fewer than 100 million people in the US travel further than 50 miles during the Christmas holidays, the American Automobile Association states.
Phenomenal firework comsumption
There is no moment in the day, in any other country on the planet that comes close to the number of fireworks that are lit as midnight looks and passes in China, as the Chinese New Year begins. China are responsible for the production of around 90% of the world's fireworks, with countless tonnes being let off to see the Chinese New Year in with a dazzling bang!
There is also a connection to fireworks and an old superstition that they are let off in order to frighten away evil spirits. Most mainland Chinese consider the bang and flash produced by fireworks as well as firecrackers to have the ability to scare away demons and evil ghosts.
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