The almighty Spring Festival is right around the corner, officially starting the day after Valentine’s Day. What does this mean for China? Well, most people will work this Saturday to balance out having days off in two weeks. Further, the holiday truly puts China’s transportation infrastructure to the test. Everyone, and I mean everyone, travels back to their hometown for the holiday to meet up with parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Due to the demand, Chinese trains and high-speed rails are completely booked, with zero tickets remaining in the days leading up to and following the start of the festival. Pictures of train stations will inevitably be posted on social media when Spring Festival starts, and they will show a sea of Chinese people all aiming to get home for the holidays.
Once home, those who are single will deal with the barrage of passive questions and comments from their family and friends about why they are still single, and how they should get married soon. They’ll do this over a table full of home-cooked Chinese food, including dumplings, which are a must for Spring Festival. Hongbaos, or red envelopes filled with money will be exchanged, and for the cities where firecrackers and fireworks haven’t been banned, the night sky will fill with their explosions of sounds and color.
Most foreigners leave China, taking advantage of their week off to finally get out of the country. However, their desire is short-lived as many other popular destinations for Chinese people during Spring Festival include Bali, Bangkok, and Boracay. Students in China probably enjoy the festival most, as they have the longest vacation, ranging from two to six weeks. For most people, especially those who work, a week is allotted amount of time; enough to go home, visit the family, and leave before growing sick of them.
The festival lets you know it’s here as city streets in China’s capital are now adorned with huge red lanterns and large replicas of the famous Chinese Knot. There seems to be a buzz in the city, like the buildup in an EDM song before the bass finally drops. This is China’s Christmas, and year after year, the country never fails to breathe life into an otherwise mundane lifestyle. Spring Festival is exciting, even for foreigners, not just in China, but around the world. Countries with large populations of Chinese such as Singapore and Malaysia also have huge red lanterns and decorations around their cities, celebrating just as hard as the Chinese in China.
So wherever you are, or will be, I wish you a happy 2018 Spring Festival. May your hongbaos be full, and your stomach too. Wishing you good fortune and great success for the rest of the year!