The Chinese New Year

Unlike many parts of the world that celebrate the new year on January 1st, China is one of the few countries that mark their new year celebrations differently. According to the traditional Chinese calendar, the country celebrates its new year during spring, which marks the end of winter. From this observation, the new year celebration is also called the spring festival because of the popular belief of individual transformation associated with environmental change. Like in most countries, observances of the holiday begin on New Year’s Eve, which allows individuals to reflect on their lives, among other aspects, in their immediate environment (Li, 2018). Believed to be one of the important holidays in China, the Chinese New Year sets off with the new moon that appears on January 21st to February 20th. In 2020, the Chinese New Year was observed on January 25th, commencing what is believed to be the Year of the Rat in Chinese traditions.  

The Spring Festival is considered an important event because of the beliefs and values attached to the Chinese New Year. During this period, individuals are expected to evaluate their achievements and align them with the views held by family members during the reunion. It can be compared to Thanksgiving in the U.S., where people reunite with their families and rekindle their memories with the hope of becoming better. However, in medieval China, the Spring Festival was a time to reconnect with the deities among ancestors who had played a significant role in establishing the traditions held by individuals in their surroundings (Li et al., 2017). Currently, Chinese families are encouraged to reunite and share a meal, after thoroughly cleaning their households to eradicate any evil spirit bearing bad luck. Even though the mode of celebration varies across China, the festival is marked by individuals with the hope of exploring their potential in the new year.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is often told around a story involving a monster that used to kill people. Even though it might be impossible to track the exact day when the Chinese began celebrating the festival, the tradition has been conveyed to subsequent generations without fail. With each year that passes, the Chines people become better than they were, an aspect that defines their approaches towards life. In many instances, children are told about the monster and how the Chinese ancestors convinced it to shift from people to other beasts. Following its ability to scare away the other creatures, the monster named “Nian” flew away but encouraged individuals to hang red paper decorations to scare it away. Nian was afraid of the red color and would not claim anyone bearing the marked papers. Listening to such stories enables individuals, and especially children, to uphold the values of the Chinese traditions and convey them to their subsequent generation.

The Chinese New Year can be equated to the Christmas celebrations in the West, where individuals use the time to rejoice. However, the Spring Festival differs significantly from other parties because of its approach that compels individuals to connect with other people in their surroundings. Notably, the Spring Festival marks the end of a current year and welcoming a new phase of their life where they can continue pursuing their objectives (Zhang & Wu, 2017). Two weeks before the Spring Festival, the entire country is always in a celebratory mood because of the significance of the event in China. People are still shopping for different commodities in readiness for the Chinese New Year, which is considered a symbolic phase in people’s lives. Many people use this time to settle their debts, clean their houses, and reunite with their families. For this reason, observing the Spring Festival reminds individuals about Chinese traditions and influences their thought process towards life.

In modern China, people from other countries should understand the activities that take place in the country during the Spring Festival. For instance, the transport sector is usually overwhelmed by the increased demand from people traveling upcountry. To avoid missing a ticket, one can always book in advance and plan accordingly. Individuals start flying two weeks before, an aspect that raises the average cost of air tickets (Zhao, 2018). Two weeks after the festival, individuals resume their work stations across China and beyond, an event that can disrupt a foreigner’s traveling schedule. Many restaurants shut their operations to allow people to move upcountry, and the tourist hotels may hike their prices. Planning enables individuals to identify the best locations they can scout without experiencing any inconvenience.

Believed to be one of the important holidays in China, the Chinese New Year sets off with the new moon that appears on January 21st to February 20th. The Spring Festival presents a moment of recollection where people reunite with their families and review their decisions. Using this time to bond with family members allows individuals to continue with the Chinese traditions that strengthen the values of the festival. In the same vein, people travel upcountry to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their family and engage in activities that enhance their interactions with other people. Although it is challenging to trace the historical identity of this celebration, stories are told to children to enable them to understand the importance of the Chinese New Year. 

References

Li, J., Xu, T., Lu, X., Chen, H., Nizkorodov, S. A., Chen, J., … & Mao, J. (2017). Online single-particle measurement of fireworks pollution during Chinese New Year in Nanning. Journal of Environmental Sciences53, 184-195.

Li, X. (2018, November). Comparison of the Similarities and Differences between Chinese and Japanese Traditional Festivals and Study of Teaching Guidance Significance. In 2018 5th International Conference on Education, Management, Arts, Economics, and Social Science (ICEMAESS 2018). Atlantis Press.

Zhang, J., & Wu, L. (2017). Influence of human population movements on the urban climate of Beijing during the Chinese New Year holiday. Scientific reports7(1), 1-8.

Zhao, L. (2018, July). The similarities and differences between the Spring Festival in China and Christmas in America. In 2018 3rd International Conference on Education, Sports, Arts, and Management Engineering (ICESAME 2018). Atlantis Press.

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