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Everything You Need To Know About Chinese New Year
2015 Chinese New Year February 19th Happy Chinese New Year! ????!
What is Chinese New Year?
The Most Important Holiday Chinese New Year is as important to the Chinese culture as Christmas is to Western culture. Also known as the Spring Festival, it heralds the beginning of spring, representing the new hopes and aspirations of Chinese people.
All About FamilyChinese New Year is a time for family reunion, which is the key theme of all festival celebrations. It is like a magnet that draws all family members back home to celebrate traditions and welcome the new beginning. It’s all about family!
When is Chinese New Year?
Chinese Lunar CalendarChinese New Year falls on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies each year according to the regular calendar, but is usually in January or February. In 2015, Chinese New Year is on February 19th.
Weeklong HolidayChinese citizens tend to take a weeklong break to celebrate the festival. Many Chinese people choose to take their holiday the week following the New Year date, however many prefer to travel the week before. Government employees this year will receive February 19-25th off, so many offices in China are closed during this time.
The Chinese animal zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao in Chinese, is a rotating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal sign.The 12 zodiac animals in order are: mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. Chinese people believe that the zodiac sign of a person’s born year may affect his/her personality traits.
The Legend of Nian
The origin of the Chinese New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years through a continually evolving series of colorful legends. The most famous one is associated with a ferocious monster called Nian, which sounds the same as the Chinese word for “Year”.Towards the end of a year when there was nothing to eat Nian would run to the villages at night and attack people, causing the villagers to live in terror.
Over time the villagers realized that the ferocious Nian was afraid of three things: the color scarlet, fire, and noise. So, they put up red decorations and lit firecrackers at midnight to scare Nian away. The monster was scared away and never came back. People repeated the ritual and it has been passed down generation to generation, and thus the custom of Guo Nian (celebrating the new year) was established.
CleaningOne thing that must be done before the New Year’s Day is house cleaning, which in Chinese culture means to sweep away the bad fortune for the past year and make room for the good luck in the next year.
Shopping SpreesIt is a Chinese tradition to buy new clothes and new home decorations before the New Year. Chinese people also buy bags of candies and nuts to put at home for their guests. Shopping malls and supermarkets always carry out big sales promotions during the holiday shopping spree.
DecorationsPutting up traditional festival decorations is the best part of the Chinese New Year. The auspicious red color is everywhere! Red Lanterns: Red, oval-shape lanterns are hung up both indoors and outdoors during Chinese New Year to symbolize good fortune.
DecorationsChunlian: Poetic, uplifting couplets written in Chinese calligraphy on red strips of paper, which are hung on each side of the doorway. Fu(?): Chinese word for “Luck”, written on a red diamond-shape paper, and stuck on the door - upside down! In Chinese the "reversed Fu" is sounds like “Fu comes”.
Family ReunionFamily reunion is the strongest tradition associated with the holiday. At the reunion dinner on the New Year’s Eve, Chinese families sit around big, round tables (the round shape signifies reunion in Chinese culture) to enjoy a grand feast featuring pork, fish, vegetables, and of course dumplings. After dinner, Chinese families often sit in front of TV and watch the Spring Festival Gala together.
FireworksIt is a tradition to set off firecrackers and fireworks at the 12am on Chinese New Year’s Day to drive away the evil in the past year. It is believed that the person who launched the first firework of the New Year will obtain good luck. Today, however, many Chinese cities set time and location restrictions on setting off fireworks.
Red EnvelopesOn Chinese New Year, it is customary for the elders to give kids red packets with money in it, known as “Hong Bao” in Chinese, with the purpose of protecting them from being hurt by ghosts and wishing them a peaceful new year. When receiving a monetary red packet, the kid should kneel down or bow down to the elder.
Pay A New Year VisitChinese people not only celebrate the New Year with their family members, but also with their neighbors and friends. They usually visit each other’s home to pay a New Year call, which is called “Bai Nian” in Chinese. When greeting people of the same age, Chinese “Zuoyi”, making a bow with hands folded in front and say something auspicious.
Travel is the new trend
The weeklong Chinese New Year holiday offers a great opportunity to travel. With higher disposable income and longer visa validity, more and more Chinese families see overseas travel as a fashionable way to celebrate Chinese New Year. In 2014, 109 million Chinese traveled abroad. Source: International Business Times
Chinese who travel abroad during Chinese New Year come ready for a shopping spree. So, whether you are a retail brand, boutique, or a shopping center, festival sales promotions on Chinese New Year will help you cash in on Chinese’s high demand for western products. In 2014, Chinese travelers spent $164.8 billion overseas. Source: International Business Times
How can you celebrate with your customers?
Offer Free Wi-Fi It’s the #1 thing Chinese tourists want and they’ll share their experiences on social media.
Decorate using red lanterns or red paper.
The Tray of Togetherness Offer a tray of treats for your customers. It’s not so much what’s in the tray, it’s more about the number of compartments. Lucky numbers like the number 8 are best.
How Western companies have celebrated in the past
Sales Promotions by Western Retailers
Chinese New Year Limited Edition Products
The Ritz-Carlton promoted its special Spring Festival dishes at its Los Angeles location, and offers the opportunity for visitors to write down wishes and hang them in red envelopes on a special Chinese New Year “wish” tree in the restaurant. Last year, on its official Weibo page, the Four Seasons uploaded a photo of its Chinese New Year desserts at one of its locations, while Mandarin Oriental is used Weibo to promote its Chinese New Year feast in global locations.
2014 was the fifth consecutive year that South Coast Plaza celebrated the Lunar New Year by incorporating amazing Chinese displays throughout the shopping centre, with many individual retailers offering shopping specials. South Coast Plaza also added a Chinese New Year themed centrepiece to their center, perfect for picture taking and sharing on social media by their Chinese consumers.
Cities all over the US have parades for Chinese New Year, including San Francisco, NYC, Boston, Houston and LA. In fact, almost every major city in America has a Chinese New Year celebration.
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