Chinese New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world. It’s the most important holiday in China and to Chinese people all over. Here are 5 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Chinese New Year.
1. There’s no set date for Chinese New Year
According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is on January 1st and lasts until the 15th (the full moon). Unlike western holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you try to calculate it with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the date is all over the place.
Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20. In 2019, it occurs on February 5th. For a full list of dates and events check out our Chinese New Year calendar.
The lunar calendar is still really important in China, even though it has officially moved to the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. All traditional holidays and days such as the Winter Solstice are celebrated. Some people still calculate their birthdays and ages according to the lunar calendar too!
2. The Spring Festival causes the largest human migration in the world
The most important part of Chinese New Year is the family reunion. Everyone should come back home for the New Year’s Eve dinner.
But since in modern China, most elderly parents live in rural villages while their children work in the cities. The migration back home and to go on vacation is called chunyun (春运), or Spring Migration.
Plus, the earliest you can buy train tickets is 60 days before. It leads to a mad rush of literally fighting for tickets. In 2015, statistics showed that around 1,000 tickets were sold each second.
3. Singles hire fake boy/girlfriends to take home
You know those nosy relatives during Thanksgiving? It’s even worse in China. Especially since having children and passing down the family name is one of the most important parts in Chinese culture.
Some desperate singles resort to hire a fake boyfriend or girlfriend to take home. Those who can’t (or don’t want to) go home can rent themselves out. For some of the other questions though, such as your salary, career or when you want to have kids, can’t be helped.
4. Every year has a zodiac animal
Western horoscopes include 12 zodiacs, one for each month. There are 12 Chinese zodiacs as well, but the animal is for the entire year.
2019 is the year of the pig. Some of the animals (such as Rat, Snake, Dog and Pig) aren’t normally well-liked in Chinese culture. But as a zodiac, their positive traits are bestowed on people born that year.
They play a much bigger role than in Western cultures. Your animal can decide your career, health and relationship success. Make sure you find out what zodiac animal you are!
5. You grow 1 year older on the Spring Festival
In China, you have a “real” age (实岁—shí suì) and a “fake” nominal age (虚岁—xū suì). The real age is the one we all know about. You grow one year older on your birthday. The nominal age though, increases with the Spring Festival.
This was the age most people went with until recent times. But it’s still common nowadays, or used interchangeably. If you’re particular about it, make sure you ask!
We also recommend to read About Asian Diversity in US
2019 Diversity Calendar: U.S. multicultural holidays and celebrations.