With Chinese New Year incoming, it’s time you brush up on your facts! Here are 7 fun facts for you to tell your relatives when they ask you about wedding, children, career, & anything you find annoying.
1. The holiday is oddly called “Spring Festival”
Even though it’s during winter, the Chinese call this day the ‘Spring Festival’ because the ‘Start of Spring’ (4th-18th February) is the first of the terms in the traditional solar calendar. And whilst the weather might be chilly, this festival marks the end of the coldest part of winter and when the Chinese would look forward to the beginning of spring.
2. Billions of ang paus are exchanged
Yes. Billions. If you didn’t know, during CNY, the older/married people give red packets filled with money to the younger people (or from bosses to employees, leaders to underlings, etc). It’s like a special New Year’s bonus! And for people like me who are unmarried and struggling for money, this is a great time for us.
3. World’s biggest annual fireworks
China is the only country (probably) that would see a tonne of fireworks light up the sky in one single hour at the beginning of CNY. If you think your neighbourhood is noisy during CNY or Deepavali, then you really wouldn’t want to be living in China for that one hour. After all, China produces about 90% of the world’s fireworks. It is also said that fireworks are used to scare off evil spirits.
4. CNY is a tough time for “old” singles
Though it may be a joyous time of the year, many above ‘matrimonial age’ are definitely not ‘joyous’. In China, females are said to be ‘marriageable’ till they’re 30 years old, and males before they’re 32. And those who are single and way past that age are thought to be the ‘dregs’ of society. Even though it’s not as crazy as it is here in Malaysia, we all get those annoying interrogations by aunties about when we’re going to get married or why we’re still single, every CNY. Another fun fact in this fun fact… because of this ‘issue’, Taobao, China’s largest online retailer, has a section for fake boyfriends/girlfriends where you can rent one for about 100 yuan a day!
I’d rather just do this.
5. The Spring Couplets
Most homes will include strips of red paper, known as “Chunlian”. These red strips contain messages known as Spring Couplets and usually convey messages of good health and fortune. A typical decoration contains four Chinese characters in gold writing – these are known as “Hui Chun”.
6. Lantern Festival
The 2 weeks of CNY will usually end with a Lantern Festival (the eve of the 15th Day), where families and friends come together to eat and put up lanterns or release lanterns into the skies. This festival also falls on the night fo the first full moon of the Chinese New Year.
7. The CNY Krampus
As with all celebrations, there’s always a monster. Tradition talks about a ferocious beast called Nian who preys on humans, emerges from his hiding place on New Year’s Eve, but is frightened off by the red decorations and banners!
With all these little fun facts to shed some lights about CNY, I hope that we’ll appreciate the festival a little more!
Header image source Here