In China, the largest holiday, by far, is the Lunar New Year or what we call Chinese New Year in America. It’s called the Spring Festival or Chun Jie in China. The holiday is based on the moon, so it doesn’t happen on the same day each year. It occurs at the end of January or the first of February.
This year Chun Jie begins on January 31. Some of the main customs surrounding Chun Jie include cleaning your home (to sweep out bad-luck and make room for the good luck), eating jaozi (dumplings), and giving red envelopes full of money to children, elders, and employees (for blessing).
A couple of the lesser known traditions include getting a haircut and taking a shower to wash away anything bad. During this fascinating holiday, fireworks galore fill the skies, while the pops and booms of firecrackers continue all day and night for at least three days.
Many people receive an extended vacation to celebrate this huge holiday. In fact, it is known as the largest annual migration of people when all of the city workers travel back to their rural hometowns to visit their families.
Chinese New Year is celebrated all over the world and even in the United States in Chinatowns, wherever there are large Chinese communities.
This year is called the year of the horse, and “ma” is how you say horse in Chinese (using the right tone, of course). I have included the official symbol for the year of the horse for you to enjoy.
Happy Spring Festival to everyone, especially to all of my Chinese friends!
Learn more in my book: Lessons from China!