NO.52 Issued Date 2014.Jan.20
Current lssue

5 Reasons Why We Love Chinese New Year

2014-01-21 07:10:51 GMT2014-01-21 15:10:51(Beijing Time)  City Weekend

 

Spring Festival is nearly here and already there are the usual "China travel chaos" stories hitting the headlines. We thought we'd give you something something positive about the New Year and tell you why we love it. Have a great Year of the Horse! 

 

We get a holiday…kinda

Number one on our list -  the few precious days off you get. Of course, it wouldn't be China without a catch or two. The fact that you have to work "make up" days before and after the holiday slightly dampens the "holiday spirit" (especially when you're sat at your office desk on a Sunday morning). Tied to the lunar calender, the holiday changes each year and a special committee has to decide when we're lucky enough to get time off. However, spending those days resting at home or taking your chances and travelling across China are definitely worth it.

 

Food! Glorious Food! (and drink)

We hope you've got, or are in the process of getting, gym membership as over the holiday you'll be invited to and eat at dinner after dinner after dinner. As with Christmas and Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year is a time when family gets together and eats their combined weight in food. Not only that, but it's a Spring Festival tradition to eat copious amounts of dumplings too. Think of it as being more like a 2013 after party; you ate your way through Xmas, you drank your way through December 31/January the 1, now that everybody is back to work at home (UK, USA etc) you get to do it all over again!

 

CCTV New Year Gala

With levels of surrealism that only highly nationalistic state broadcasters can achieve, the CCTV New Year Gala is traditional viewing for families across the country (even if the TV is probably left on in the background as the family eats and drinks). Billed as a huge spectacular, the event itself is filmed in front of an audience in a small studio, making it seem at times like an endearing amateur dramatics company putting on a variety show. That being said, recent years has seen a few international names make appearances, including Celine Dion who sang in Chinese. Prepare for patriotic anthems, minority dancers, some token foreigners and lots of mentions of the "Chinese Dream".

 

Hongbao

Who doesn't like free money? Over the holiday there's a good chance your you'll receive a handful of hongbao, money given as a gift in a red envelope. Singletons will be happy to know that it's traditionally only married couples who give away hongbao. Receivinghongbao is just one reason why CNY is way better than Xmas - you don't get any unwanted gifts and you can spend the money you get anyway you see fit! Be careful though, wise relatives give generously and then win it all back with a few games of mahjong! So brush up on your mahjong skills now.

 

Beijing goes quiet

One final reason we love the Spring Festival holiday is that Beijing pipes down for a week or two (albeit for the fireworks). As people leave Beijing to go home to join their families for the festivities, the city becomes quiet. The tourist traps are as busy as ever but everywhere else slows down. You can even get a taxi when you need one! Construction halts and air quality improves slightly as factories shut down for the holiday.  

 

Events

Northern Ballet: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

When: Thu 23 Jan - Sat 25 Jan 7.30pm-~
Where:English address 2 Xi Chang'an Jie, Xicheng district Chinese address 西城区长安街2号
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YCIS Beijing Chinese New Year Festival

When: Wed 22 Jan 8.30am-2.30pm
Where:English address 北京耀中国际学校 5 Houbalizhuang, Chaoyang district Chinese address 朝阳区后八里庄5号红领巾公园
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New Year Rice Cakes

When: Monday Jan 13
Where:Grand Millennium Beijing, Fortune Plaza, 7 Dongsanhuan Middle Road 千禧酒店, 财富中心,东三环中路7号
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