Happy Chinese New Year to all of you and welcome to the year of the rooster!
This is the day when literally ALL of China — some 1.3 billion people — is about to go on holiday for the Spring Festival, and there will be seven days of chaos as celebrations get underway for the Chinese New Year. Many people travel home during the Spring Festival and this year authorities estimate citizens will make 2.5 billion trips by land, 356 million by rail, 58 million by plane and 42 million by sea between January 13 and February 21. So if you are or are planning to be there, I really hope you got your tickets already 🙂 Travel Turtle and I have never tried braving traffic for Spring Festival, but it was already enough the rest of the year. Here are some facts about Chinese New Year and why traveling to China always is a good idea.
If you are born in the year of the rooster, Chinese people believe that you are trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work, so no pressure 🙂
Red is the colour of luck in China. Temples will be decorated in red ribbons and children will receive red envelopes containing money from older family members. If you are born in the year of the rooster you should wear something red during the whole year for good luck.
The dinner on Spring Festival Eve is the most important meal of the year for every family. All family members get together cooking and making dumplings. Some families also put coins (washed in boiling water) into dumplings, if you eat a dumpling with a coin, it means you will be lucky and will make good fortune in the new year!
Dragons are an important symbol to Chinese people who think of dragons as helpful, friendly creatures. They are linked to good luck, long life and wisdom and are associated with storm clouds and life-giving rain. Dragon dances are performed at New Year to scare away evil spirits.
Apart from all these lovely and exotic festivities China has many more treats to offer to travelers, if you dare brave the traffic and a non English speaking environment 😛 The most amazing natural beauties, incredible mega-cities, the friendliest (and sometimes most annoyingly curious) people on earth and the best food you’ll ever taste. Not to mention some of the greatest wonders man has ever seen like the Great Wall. I spent a whole year traveling through this amazing country and haven’t seen half of it yet!
China is also always good for an unexpected laugh 🙂
And of course it makes for some excellent yarn shopping, if you know where to look. Fine Cashmere and Alpaca yarns went into my luggage the last time and I’ll definitely go again to stock up on it sometime soon. There is a whole street in Shanghai dedicated to yarns and fabrics, check it out when you’re there! (No haggling here, unfortunately)
I even needed some help to carry it all home.
Have a lovely new year and enjoy the spirit of the rooster. If you feel like knitting one, why not make one of these cute spring chicks?