Thursday 19th February marked Chinese New Year, the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
The world’s largest annual human migration takes place at New Year as 2.8 billion trips are made across China, as students, migrant workers and office employees living away from home make the journey back to celebrate with their families.
Chinese New Year is the longest national holiday in China, spanning a total of fifteen days, and New Year’s Day is the most important day.
The first three days of the new year are a statutory holiday but usually most people will have the time from New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the new year off from work.
Although China has used the Gregorian calendar since 1912, Chinese New Year is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, and it falls on the second new moon after winter solstice - somewhere between 21 January and 19 February, meaning it changes from year to year. This year it is the last possible day that it can be celebrated.
As well as being celebrated in China itself, celebrations occur in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and all cities where there are large Chinese populations, including Sydney. Dinners, parades, dragon dances, reunions and gift exchanges are all part of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Red is the essential colour for Chinese New Year, as the mythical monster at the centre of the New Year, Nian, was apparently scared of the colour red and of fireworks, which have also become a key part of New Year celebrations.
2015 is the year of the goat, but we like to see it referred to as the “Year of the Sheep” too.
The confusion stems from the Chinese character “yang”, which can translate in colloquial Chinese as either sheep or goat.
We would like to wish all our Chinese customers 新年快樂, we hope you have a wonderful Year of the Sheep.