Today is Chinese new year’s eve! It’s such a fun time of year to be in China and it’s strange not to be there – a reminder that I really have started a new season of my life. This is actually the first time in ten years that I am outside China for Chinese new year! Here is a collection of those stories I’ve written about Chinese new year and its various traditions.
Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the lunar new year, ending two weeks of New Year celebrations. While lanterns were traditionally part of the festival, for me it has always been about fireworks and tang yuan dumplings.
Decorations are one of my favourite “Spring Festival” customs. You can’t walk around China at this time of year without seeing them everywhere – at homes and shops, in the subway, even on cars or trucks. It’s very fun and festive!
In China, everyone adds a year to their age on Ren Ri (“Human Day” or “Everyman’s Birthday” in English). At birth a child is considered to be 1 year old, and then every Ren Ri one year is added. So Ren Ri is like a communal birthday.
It can be a little hard to get things done during the Chinese new year holiday week. Many people leave town, and many businesses close. A normally full bike lane had a grand total of three bikes. It looked strange, almost eerie.
Think about it this way. The government bans your favourite holiday tradition. 13 years later you have children who have never experienced it, so you pour a lot of cash into preparing. Now, mutliply that scenario by about 5 million.
Chinese new year festivities last two weeks. There are a LOT of new year traditions in China, many of which I’ve participated in one year or another. Fireworks, new year dinner, decorations, fireworks, temple fairs, dumplings, and fireworks.