Chinese Lunar New Year

Posted on Posted in China Lifestyle, Chinese Food, Chinese Holidays, Culture, Travel

The Chinese Lunar New Year 40 day travel rush has begun. The biggest annual human migration on the planet. It is the grandest and the most important annual event for Chinese people. More than 3.6 billion people will be traveling in China alone. Traveling sometimes long distances to return to their families for the start of a new year.

The vast majority will hit the roads, often riding on China’s crowded long-distance buses. Road transport will make up 3.2 billion trips, up 5.8 percent over last year, and some 80 million a day. Airlines, too, will be weighed down with record numbers of holiday sojourners, with 42 million flights expected over the festive season, up 10 percent from 2013.

Finally, passengers will make 258 million trips by train, up about 8 percent over last year. 6 out of 10 tickets are sold online. China boasts the world’s most efficient high speed rail. Needless to say, tickets are harder to get, the closer you get to the start of the New Year.

Chinese Lunar New YearAccording to Chinese zodiac, the festival lasts for 14 days. Making it the longest public holiday in China. See Legal China Holidays.  In 2016 the holiday is from February 8th to the 22nd. Most employees will have seven days off work. From Sunday February 7th (New Year’s Eve) to Saturday the 13th.

Students enjoy that they take one month absence from school. Usually starting on the first day of holiday until around the 22nd day.

Chinese Lunar New Year is known better as Spring Festival.

The story of Spring Festival goes back more than 4,000 years. Originating during the Shang Dynasty (17th - 11th century BC). The festival was to observe the fight against a savage beast called Nian. Nian would come to the villages because he was fond of eating children and livestock.

The people found out that the Nian was afraid of both the color red and loud sounds. So they decorated their houses in red and set off firecrackers to expel it.

Families get together to celebrate with lots of food and fireworks. The New Year's Eve dinner is called "reunion dinner", and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together.

Every street, building, and house where CNY is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.

Most of the decoration is traditionally done on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Year of the Monkey

 

As 2016 is the year of monkey, decorations related to monkeys will be commonly seen. There are red monkey dolls for children and New Year paintings with monkeys on.

Find more on Chinese New Year Decorations.

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Monkey", while also bearing the following elemental sign;

 

Start date End date Heavenly branch
6 February 1932 25 January 1933 Water Monkey
25 January 1944 12 February 1945 Wood Monkey
12 February 1956 30 January 1957 Fire Monkey
30 January 1968 16 February 1969 Earth Monkey
16 February 1980 4 February 1981 Metal Monkey
4 February 1992 22 January 1993 Water Monkey
22 January 2004 8 February 2005 Wood Monkey
8 February 2016 27 January 2017 Fire Monkey
26 January 2028 12 February 2029 Earth Monkey
12 February 2040 31 January 2041 Metal Monkey

 

Read about my first Chinese New Year in China here; My First Chinese Spring Festival.

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