Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Shanghai

Chinese New Year

China, Chinese New Year, LanternShanghai is one of the best places in the world to experience Chinese New Year… Why you may ask?  Because here, in this city, you have the opportunity to see both the old and the new traditions associated with this holiday.  

As I mentioned in my earlier posting, Shanghai becomes relatively empty during the New Year holiday.  As a result you have to “fight” with significantly fewer people when going out to check out the various happenings.

Here is one of the good options for experiencing the celebration in a traditional local way – pay a visit to the Longhua Temple in Southwest Shanghai.   The temple is located at Long Hua Road – in Chinese characters it is 龙华路853 

How do you get there?  Obviously, taking a cab to the address listed above is one – easier- way, but I would suggest to get on the number 9 line and just head to the Long Hua Road metro stop.

Going to this temple will allow you to see the Shanghai people in action – payers are in full swing, tons of special prayer envelopes and banners are being handled and of course you get to see and hear the sounds of the festival.

The temple bell is also omnipresent – striking it is a symbol of the new year, and also a method for chasing away the evil spirits.   As a result we heard the bell multiple times while at the temple on the 16th of February – New Year’s Day – in 2018;

Here are some of the photos we took from visiting the temple on the first day of the New Year of the Dog

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
The Pagoda…It has seen a lot over the ages…

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
I believe my wife and I took a photo at this pagoda back in 1990…
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
Praying for good fortunes throughout 2018

 

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
The temple gates
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
Of course, the burning of prayer envelopes is well supervised by real firefighters….
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
More of the Temple Gates

                                                   

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua Temple
The red lanterns were pretty much everywhere
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua temple
Do you think there are enough lanterns here…?
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua temple
The mystic temple entrance gates…Spooky…!

Well, in the future, if you are planning to be in Shanghai for Chinese New Year, and have some time on your hands, you should plan to explore the Longhua Temple…!

Happening in Shanghai – Couple of Days to Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 

Well, I think most of you who read about Shanghai or live here and are familiar with the Chinese New Year, know that it represents the largest migration in the world.   As a result it the major cities in the country essentially empty out.

If you want to see what I mean and you are not in Shanghai these days, then take a look at the photos below.  I took them when I left the office earlier this afternoon.

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
Bike, anyone…?

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
Another Lunar New Year effect – the bikes are idle…
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
OFO biles lined up for use…but all people have gone back to the provinces

Then there was the metro station — Hanzhong Lu is usually busy as it gets – with multiple lines changing there….Well, not today – the place looked rather like a ghost town.  Take a look yourself:

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Have you seen the metro so empty? The Lunar New Year effect
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Line 13 at Hanzhong Lu station – so empty
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year

                                                     

There you have it – millions of Shanghai residents have moved out – as Chinese New Year is the biggest family holiday in the country,  people have gone home to see their families, parents, grandparents — so the city is kind of empty – which is also nice.  Time to explore…!

More photos soon…..

 

Chinese New Year: Interesting Statistics to Help You Learn More About China

Well folks, the Chinese New Year celebrations are (almost) behind us.  In previous posting here I provided a brief view of the Year of the Goat, and some statistics associated with this huge holiday.  In today’s posting, I would like to add some interesting statistics I have come across in searches on the Web – and leverage those as a way for all of us to build up more understanding of the customs and habits associated with the Chinese New Year.

The first stop along the road of fact discovery is one that compares the US Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year.   Can you tell “Huge Order of Magnitude” difference…

Infographic: How Chinese New Year Compares With Thanksgiving | Statista

Then we need to look at how people spend their money in order to get a feel for what drives nowadays customs.  Sure, you can talk about ancient practices but money speaks loud…So here is the next infographic

Infographic: Chinese new year: how people spend their money | Statista

Amazing, right… Huge RMB-amount spent on the event itself and associated gifts.  Now you can understand how important this holiday is and why China essentially comes to a stop during its duration.

Here are a few stats more – courtesy of The Independent

CountriesCelebrating2015FireworksNewYear2015WeiXingStatsNewYear2015

Chinese New Year Approaching Fast

Chinese New Year in 2015 falls on February 19th — and on that date we will go into the Year of the Goat.  I get the question very often – what year will be this year? The year of __?

So to that effect here are the two things:  2015=Year of the Goat,

Year of the Goat

and a pictogram I found on the web that shows the alignment of the Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac Years

The Chinese New Year is certainly the biggest holiday on Earth – why?  Because of the sheer number of people who celebrate it, take action due to it and take a huge number of trips as a result of it.  In China and other parts of the world, people celebrate the event by having family gatherings.  It is THE norm to have the extended families travel thousands of miles to get to their ancestral homes and bring everyone together.  To that effect the holiday creates the biggest migration of people on Earth (I think).

Talking with friends and reading in the media, the holiday travel is characterized with the following statistics:

  • In preparation for the travel needed, train ticket sales reach over 1000 tickets sold per SECOND!
  • Chinese authorities expect approximately 2.8 BILLION trips to be taken around the festival
  • Expected close to 1B people on the move
  • The amazing view was the image from Baidu Maps – which showed the location based requests from mobile phone registered users in China – the image shows the intensity of travel associated with the holiday last year….Expect the same and MORE this year…

Chinese New year 2014

 

Want to know some more about Chinese New Year customs…?

Some of you may have wondered why some Chinese New Year posters appear to be hung upside down…Don’t worry — you are right — they are upside down. The question is do you know why that is…? By the way, this is not a mistake — no, the posters are hung upside down for a purpose — here is what the poster looks like and why it is placed in that particular orientation:

NewYearCharacter.jpg This is an upside down version of the Chinese character “FU” which means good fortune, but during the Chinese New Year holiday, you will see it in this weird upside down position. The reason is the Chinese famous double meaning {by the way, the Chinese literature is full of double meaning examples — poetry often has very strange interpretations}. So when the character is placed in that position it could be read as “DAO LE”, which could mean “arrive”, but it also sounds like DOLLAR (in English) — so the loop is closed — “Fortune” –> “arrive” –> “Dollar”….. You make your own conclusions. This is a perfect symbolism, isn’t it….

The Chinese character “fu” means good fortune. As a new year greeting, it is turned upside down. The flipping action is called “dao le” in Mandarin, which also sounds like the Chinese word “arrives,” which in turn sounds like the English word “dollar” – an auspicious character however you look at it.