Lunar New Year: everything you need to know about holidays in China

Lunar New Year in China
While not everyone around is aware of the Chinese New Year, it's right around the corner. This year China's most beloved holiday falls on Friday, February 12. Let's take a closer look at what it is and what is so special about it.

More than a quarter of Earth's population is celebrating it.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is not only celebrated in China, with its 1.4B population, but also in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other countries. Sum that up, and the number of people will reach the 2B mark pretty quickly.
The celebration date changes every year.
Chinese New Year is never on a fixed date and varies each year. That is because the Chinese calendar bases on the rotation of the moon. Thus, a new year starts any time between the 21st of January to the 20th of February. This year it takes place on the 12th of February. Chinese New Year is celebrated for 16 days and is followed by the Lantern Festival.
New Year Celebration ends with a Lantern Festival.
Chinese New Year is a lengthy process. Even before the celebration officially starts, traditions and preparations take place. These include eating lava porridge, thorough housecleaning to wash the last year away, and hanging holiday decorations. Official activities begin at midnight on the first day and then run for full 15 days of celebration ending with a Lantern Festival. The lantern signifies self-renewal, finding love, good fortune. Its principal purpose is to guide wayward spirits back home.
Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal's zodiac year.
The lunar calendar moves on a 12-year-cycle, and each year is represented by an animal. This practice traces back to the 14th century BC.
It's the world's largest usage of fireworks.
At midnight of the first day of the Chinese New Year, things kick off with millions of bangs. Fireworks are the very heart of the Chinese New Year tradition. According to a legend, a fearsome creature known as a Nian used to terrorize Chinese villagers during wintertime, until one day, a mysterious old man came to town and scared it off using firecrackers. Since then, fireworks are used to drive the evil away. When the clock strikes midnight, the greatest usage of fireworks in the world begins.
Chunyun: the largest annual human migration
Chinese New Year is a time to reunite with family and friends, though it might be tricky to get there with so many people on transit. This mass movement of people is so significant it has made itself a name — Chunyun. The process begins roughly 15 days before the festivities start and runs for about 40 days in total. This human migration cripples the Chinese transportation system.
A red envelope filled with money is a traditional gift.
It is usual for the married couples to give them to singles (especially children). The red color symbolizes good luck, and it's supposed to ward off evil spirits. There are several legends behind this. One of them is about a village terrorized by a demon. He came at night and placed his hands on the forehead of children causing a deadly illness. A worried couple prayed to God to protect their newborn child, so God sent fairies disguised as coins to protect the baby. Coins were placed under the child's pillow. One night when the demon approached the child, coins began to shine so brightly they blinded him, and he fled away. Villagers began to spread this story, and other people started to gift coins to place those under the pillow at night. Also, it's believed that the red color for the envelope came from the Chin dynasty, where the elderly carried the coins on the red strings. At the time, coins had a hole in the middle, so it was comfortable to carry around a bunch using a string. With the development of printing, red envelopes started to become more and more popular.
The celebration goes digital.
Today, with the highly emerging trends for digitalization, you can find online alternatives to the traditional red envelopes. For example, WeChat messenger enabled online money transfers with a colorful message to greet friends or relatives during the Chinese New Year period. A bit later, Alipay started to offer money transfers under the cover image of the red envelope. Quick, clean, and fun; the new way of sending and receiving monetary gifts became widely used by the youngest generation, soon joined by the matures.

In 2015, The Spring Festival Gala, the most viewed TV show (at least 700M viewers every year), started cooperation with Alipay and Weibo and announced a money giveaway program. All you need to participate is to register and shake your phone while watching the show.
Business and eCommerce world during the Lunar New Year
Those who outsource products from China are apparently aware of the delays during the Chinese New Year. Although the holiday itself lasts for 15 days, most people get an additional week off to prepare for the holiday, and some are getting a week off after due to Chunyun and other factors. So if you are doing any business with China, it's highly recommended to prepare in advance. Order all the products you'll need at least a few weeks before the holiday, and do not forget to notify your customers about possible delays.

We wish you wealth, happiness, and luck in the upcoming New Year of the Ox. Do not let any demons, dragons, or negative thoughts ruin your mood and plans. May this year be very special and prosperous for you.

We wish you wealth, happiness, and luck in the upcoming New Year of the Ox. Do not let any demons, dragons, or negative thoughts ruin your mood and plans. May this year be very special and prosperous for you.
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