Chinese New Year falls on February 5th this year. Here we reveal some Chinese New Year fun facts that you may find interesting.
Oh, and if you happen to be attending your first Chinese New Year family dinner this year, this can be your cheat sheet!
1. The festival date changes every year
Determined by the Chinese lunar calendar, the date for Chinese New Year changes each year. It always falls between January 21 and February 20. This year, Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday February 5.
2. It starts a new animal’s zodiac year
The dog needs to make way for the Pig this year. In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
3. Chinese New Year drives the largest human migration
The Spring Festival causes the largest human migration in the world, because everyone is expected to return home for the New Year’s Eve dinner. And since most elderly parents live in rural areas, while their children work in the cities, long journeys are often made. The migration back home for this annual vacation is called Chunyun, or Spring Migration.
4. Family dinner perks and pressures
The migration was meant for family reunion, an just like any other normal family dinner, there’s a certain pressing conversation you must be prepared for. The classic, albeit annoying “who’s your boy/girlfriend?” followed by “when are you going to get married?”. Embrace and answer with honesty and respect is the key.
But, here comes fun facts #5…
5. Singles hire fake girlfriend or boyfriend
Yes, you’ve read that right. Some singles resort to hiring a fake partner to take home, pacifying inquisitive relatives. Some other questions, such as your salary, or when you will have children, are to be expected.
This is a fresh-new fact about Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is a joyful time for most, but for singles above the normal matrimonial age it’s not. In China, females are said to be marriageable up to 30, and males before 32. Eeeks!
6. Washing, sweeping, or taking out the garbage is forbidden
Did you know that washing your hair is forbidden on New Year’s Day? And sweeping and throwing out your trash isn’t allowed before the 5th. This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck!
And there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning to sweep away the bad luck, making room for the good.
7. The celebration lasts for 15 days till Lantern Festival
The peak time of the entire celebration is on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day is called Lantern Festival, marking the end of the celebration.
8. The red envelopes
The spring festival is always more fun for kids as they receive lucky money in red envelopes (Ang Pao). This money is believed to transfer fortune from the older, married generation, to the younger, still unmarried, children. Red envelopes can also be given between bosses and employees, co-workers, and friends.
Now put on your best red attire, and get ready to welcome the Year of the Pig. Gong Xi Fa Cai!