Chinese New Year (CNY) is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China, and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. (Definition from Wikipedia.)
The Chinese “zodiac” is based on a 12-year cycle of animals and 2019 is the year of the pig.
Recent years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019.
Two of the major components of CNY seem to be spending time with family and giving gifts. In these ways, it seems most like an American Christmas. Decorating is also part of the celebration- see below for photos.
One of my expat friends was told by her Chinese teacher that the holiday means the most to children and the elderly.
But since most people seem to receive several days off from work (up to a week), it seems like everyone I see is getting in the spirit.
I was on the metro earlier this week, on one of the lines that goes to a train station, and it was packed with people- many of whom had suitcases and/or red packages.
Money is given in red envelopes- hong bao.
Tipping isn’t part of the culture in China, but it is customary to give hong baos to people who regularly perform services for us. We have excellent staff at our apartment, and while I mostly take the metro, I love my driver, so I will be happily giving out hong baos tomorrow.
I am leaving Shanghai for CNY since 3M China gives a generous amount of time off for the holiday. Next up – Thailand!
We enjoyed a pig cake last night with our Chinese teacher to celebrate CNY. My teacher said she doesn’t eat eyes – even chocolate ones – so she had the cute curly butt.