Happy new year! Sure, it’s February, but we’re not talking about the Gregorian new year. Today marks the first day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. So pull up a chair to the reunion dinner, have some Niangao, open a red envelope, dance with a dragon and read on for more fascinating facts about celebrating this new year festival.
- Party like it’s 15 days! And you thought the week between Christmas and New Years is long. This new year festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar, and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.
- Think traveling the week of Thanksgiving is tough? The largest human migration happens during the month around Chinese New Year due to the travel of migrant workers in China and Chinese ex-pats around the world arriving home for the traditional reunion family dinners on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Did you know? There are more intercity trips taken inside mainland China for this celebration than the total population of China itself.
- Spring cleaning come early. Days before the celebration begins, Chinese families give their homes a deep clean. The belief is that the cleaning helps sweep away any bad luck from the outgoing year, making homes ready for the new year’s good luck. But it’s not all work and no play: brooms are shoved aside on the first new year’s day so as not to sweep away incoming good luck.
- When else could you dance with a lion? Dragon and lion dances are a fun, colorful feature for the Chinese New Year. Loud drum beats and cymbals, together with the faces of the dragon or lion dancing, rid us of the evil spirits. Fun fact: Lion dances are also a popular activity for business openings in Hong Kong.
- It’s not just China. Wherever a sizable Chinese population can be found, so can Chinese New Year. That includes Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and others in the region. In addition, although it’s not an official holiday there, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations in Australia, Canada and the United States. Even the mail gets into it: the Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service all issue New Year’s themed stamps.
Read more fascinating facts about the Chinese New Year on Answers.com. Check out the Answer of the Day for more Chinese New Year trivia: Do the Japanese and Chinese have the same zodiacal calendar?