The Little I Know About Chinese New Year

penutsAs a foreigner living in China I’ve gotten the chance to experience many new things and ways of life. Traditions and holidays are, of course, different depending in the country you live.

Having grown up in western countries (with strong Catholic/Christian influences), Christmas season was the “main event” when it came to family traditions and celebrations.

In China, it seems like the “main event” is Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival). I can’t say that I know much about the holiday. Working at a school means that I get about 1 month off during this time, and my agenda is booked traveling outside of China (usually visiting family). And although this year is no different (I am in the US as I write this post), I will say that I tried to pay closer attention to the days leading up to the holiday.

Stores, as it is with Christmas, are packed with decorations for peoples houses months in advance. Normally, decorations are red and gold, and a theme appears depending on the Chinese 12-animal zodiac cycle. This year it is the year of the Monkey, so monkey decorations (and all sorts of products) are sold at stores. Last year, it was the goat.

Monkey stuffed animals at Walmart
Monkey stuffed animals at Walmart
Monkey cups at Starbucks
Monkey cups at Starbucks

People travel to their hometowns during this time, and spend the days visiting family and friends, having dinner together. It is, as most of Chinese holidays, a family and friend oriented holiday.

As the New Year holiday approaches I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

New Year decorations for sale at the street market.
New Year decorations for sale at the street market.

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5 thoughts on “The Little I Know About Chinese New Year

    1. I collect Starbucks mugs here in China because they have them here for the Chinese holidays but you can’t get them anywhere else. I searched EVERYWHERE for those mugs with the monkey-tail handles and was not able to find them. I think they were just so popular this year they sold them out too quickly 😦

  1. That’s really awesome that you were able to find Chinese New Year stuff while in America. We were in San Francisco last year the week before CNY and I don’t remember seeing anything up specifically for CNY, but we did see advertisements for events that would be held on the exact day, but we were gone by then.

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