Fun facts about Chinese New Year

It’s almost Chinese New Year! Here are some fun facts about Chinese New Year you might want to know:

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  • Chinese New Year is a major holiday in not just China but also other countries in Asia: Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, North Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
  • The date varies! Yep, the date for Chinese New Year changes each year. The date is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar.
  • Chinese calls New Year as the Spring Festival (春节- chun jie)
  • Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year. There are total 12 animals in zodiac cycle.

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  • Chinese legend holds that Buddha asked all animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came.

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  • Billions of red envelopes or called “hong bao” are exchanged! Red envelopes with cash are given out from older to younger, and bosses to employees. In recent years, the gift-giving has gone digital.

    Chinese new year red envelop

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  • 200 million mainland Chinese travel long distance for these holidays just so they can spend the holiday with their family.

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  • The world’s biggest annual fireworks usage. Fireworks are used to scare the evil spirits and demons away.

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  • One of the traditional treats is candied crab-apple on a stick! And it’s delicious!

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  • On the last day of Chinese New Year, everyone carries beautiful paper lanterns and along the streets. This is supposed to light the way for the New Year! It’s also known as Lantern Festival.
  • Since the 1980s, Chinese Central TV broadcasts the celebration. It’s an evening-long variety style show and it is watched by the entire Country!

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  • Outside of China, San Francisco holds the largest Chinese New Year celebration.
  • New Years means it’s time to tidy up, starting over fresh. Some believe that cleaning will sweep away the evil spirits or bad luck associated with the previous year.
  • Red everything! The red color symbolizes good fortune so use and wear as much red as possible!

Here are some wish phases you may want to learn: 新年快乐 (Xin nian kuai le), happy New Year; fill with good health 身体健康 (shen ti jian kang); success in career事业有成 (shi ye you cheng); happiness and prosperity 恭喜发财 (gong xi fa cai). If you want your red envelope, you definitely will want to learn to say gong xi fa cai.