Monday, February 4, 2019

Lunar Festival Etiquette

The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place. – From

In China, the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the celebration of the new year determined by the lunar calendar, because the dates of celebration follow the phases of the moon. Since the mid-1990s people in China have been given seven consecutive days off work during the Chinese New Year. This week of relaxation has been designated the “Spring Festival.”

It’s not only the Chinese who observe and celebrate the Lunar New Year. In China, Vietnam and in Chinese communities around the world, annual 15-day festivals are celebrated. These begin with the new moon that occurs sometime between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars. Festivities last until the following full moon.
  • The Lunar New Year can be rough for the young and single Chinese, especially the single women. Family reunions and celebrations are highlighted by dreaded interrogations of singles who haven't yet married and settled down. The solution? The slew of websites offering  boyfriend/girlfriend rentals. The fake boyfriend/girlfriend rental business has been growing the last few years. Singletons were forced into these rentals so parents and relatives would finally stop nagging them. Renting a bogus marriage prospect ranges from RMB 500 ($77) to 6,000 ($925) per day. Some packages come with "a free embrace, hand holding and a goodbye kiss on the cheek," as well as a list of additional specific service charges.
  • According to CNN in parts of China, there are a few things you can and can't do over the Lunar New Year holiday – simply because of how they sound. Purchases of shoes or footware are off limits for the entire lunar month, as the term for shoes (haai) sounds like losing and sighing in Cantonese. You can however, turn the Chinese character for luck (fu) upside down to make "dao" (which sounds like arrival) and put it on your door to bring in good fortune for the new year.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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