Spring Festival in China 春节

lANTERN FESTIVAL, SHANGHAI 2016

lANTERN FESTIVAL, SHANGHAI 2016

Last year I went to China to spend the CNY and to be able to experience this important traditional festival in the most real way possible. It is usually called the Spring Festival (春节 chūnjié /chwnn-jyeah/) or Lunar New Year and is a major holiday not just in China but also in other countries in Asia. So if you’d like to experience these tradition keep reading, we hope this will give you a idea of what to expect. 

This year CNY is on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 which is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar.  And 2017 is my year, the Year of the Rooster!!!! [1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017] Considered a bad year for Rooster, according to Chinese astrology, people in their zodiac year are believed to offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, and incur his curse. It is believed to bring nothing but bad luck. Therefore Chinese astrology followers pay special attention to their conduct every twelfth year of their lives. So if you’re like me born in one of the Rooster years and want to keep away some bad luck according to traditions these are some things you can do: facing the right direction, wearing jade accessories and wearing red. 

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, influenced by the moon and the sun. It can seem very foreign and complicated if you are new to it, but basically it just counts the moon cycles phases of the moon from one "spring" (CNY) to the next. Chinese months begin with new moon, and have a full moon on day 15.  

The standard public holiday for 7 days from Chinese New Year's Eve to day 6 of the lunar calendar new year. Traditionally the end of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival — is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, and traditionally ends the Chinese New Year period. In 2017 it falls on February 11. After the Lantern Festival, CNY taboos are no longer in effect, and all New Year decorations are taken down. The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon night in the lunar calendar, marking the return of spring and symbolizing the reunion of family. However, most people cannot celebrate it with their families, because there is no public holiday for this festival. I went to the one in Shanghai, just see the pictures below so you can have an idea of what to expect. It's even better in person. 

Where is the best place to see the Lanterns in China? 

Qinhuai International Lantern Festival (the biggest in China!) is from January  28 to February 14, 2017, at Confucius Temple, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, Nanjing. 

Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition is from the middle of January to the end of February, 2017, in Yanqing County, Beijing. 

Xiamen Lantern Festival is estimated from January 30 to February 14, 2017, at Yuanboyuan Garden, Xiamen City. 

Shanghai Datuan Peach Garden Lantern Festival is from February to March, 2017, at Datuan Peach Garden, 888 Caichuan, Datuan Town, Pudong New District, Shanghai.  

4% of the world's population are on the move which means that more than 200 million Mainland Chinese travel long distances for these holidays, and it is estimated that there are 3.5 billion journeys in China, is the busiest travel season in the world. If at all possible, avoid traveling by rail, this is the preferred mode of transportation of the Chinese people, partly because it is cheap and efficient and partly because it is a social event in itself.  

It's also the world's biggest annual fireworks usage, since China produces about 90% of the world's fireworks. If you would like to see a show of firecrackers and fireworks in a city, you need to check the designated venues and time frames in advance. Hong Kong is a great place to see fireworks. During Chinese New Year, there is an annual fireworks show over Victoria Harbor. Most of them believe that the flash and bang of firecrackers and fireworks scare away demons and evil ghosts. For the sake of safety and environmental protection, many cities across China have imposed bans or restrictions on the use of fireworks and firecrackers during festivals and holidays. In these cases, it's illegal for individuals to set off fireworks and firecrackers.

The CNY period is a good time to visit China if you are interested in traditional Chinese culture. But you should be prepared for travel chaos and transport stress around China. 

Arrange as much of your itinerary as possible beforehand. | Try to exercise patience and maintain a cheerful spirit. | Bring along warm clothing. 

Restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, airports, and department stores will be open and ready for more customers, even though government buildings and offices are closed during the New Year holiday. Restaurants can be jam-packed, and with such large throngs of people, prices are naturally on the increase.

Just be calm, in the tourist attractions they are even more people than normal, I don't even want to remember the long line I had to go through for the Great Wall of China or to Forbidden City but there ’s some amazing vibes during this holidays that you have to experience at least once. 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The date varies.
  • Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal's zodiac year.
  • It is a festival for 1/5 of the world's population.
  • Billions of red envelopes are exchanged.
  • Like Christmas/New Year in other countries, Chinese New Year is simply a much-needed winter holiday at an auspicious time. Rest Before a New Farming Year | The Traditional 'Start of Spring’
  • It's big in London and HK. 
  • Is a tradition to watch the Spring Festival Gala on CCTV.  
  • Lion dances are the best thing to watch outside during this period. 
  • Try to stay with a local family. 

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新年快乐

Xīnnián kuàilè! means "Happy New Year”. 

That's pronounced "sshin-nyen kwhy-luh", by the way. May it bring all the luck and prosperity you need!!!