Nearly a Fifth of the World’s Population Will be Celebrating Chinese New Year

Date: 14/02/2018
Author: GMCC Asia Pacific Team.
Company: GMCC Asia Pacific Team.

For most of us, New Year’s Resolutions, if we made any, were crafted carefully in late December or early January as we entered 2018. However, for an estimated 1.4bn people across the globe, a vast array of differing rituals and festivities will take place in February as the Lunar New Year is celebrated by Chinese communities across the world.

Chinese New Year is steeped in tradition and is known as the Spring Festival and is based on the lunar calendar. It heralds new beginnings and an opportunity for family reunions, reflection, honouring ancestors, prayers and most importantly throwing away the bad luck and welcoming new luck and prosperity. The festivities last for 15 days and culminate with a big family gathering, Chap Goh Mei.

The Colour Red: People tend to spring clean their homes and adorn them with vibrant colours, mainly red and gold. The colour red for Chinese is associated with being auspicious, bringing happiness, good fortune and Joy. Homes are displayed with lanterns and Ang Pows – small red envelopes with cash as monetary gifts.

The Legend of Nian: Legend has it that a monster called Nian was a mythical beast with the head of a lion and the body of a bull. Nian would come out to hunt and eat villagers and cause destruction every New Year’s Eve. Once Nian had feasted, it wouldn’t attack any more people. The villagers learnt that Nian was afraid of the colour red, fire and noise. Therefore, firecrackers were originally used to scare away evil spirits like Nian, drums are played and the colour red is worn. Nian's capture by a Taoist Monk, Laozu, led to celebrations. To this day, firecrackers are lit and drums played to ward off evil spirits. Lion dances are also performed to bring wealth and prosperity.

Business during Chinese New Year: If you do business in China or with Chinese Suppliers, you will have to make sufficient plans to ensure that it's business as usual during this festive period. Businesses can close for up to 10 days before Chinese New Year and this may have an impact on your business, including logistics and freight costs. 

If you’re sourcing from China, or supplying to China, it is imperative to have a strong relationship with your local partners and plan ahead. Ensure you forecast well and manage your inventory effectively. Plan early and plan well.

The Year of the Dog: The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle and those born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are also known as Dogs. According to Asian astrology, your year of birth - and the animal this represents - determines a lot about your personality traits. 2018 will be the first Year of the Earth Dog since 1958. Anyone born in an Earth Dog year will be communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace. The Chinese New Year will run until 4 February 2019, and the dog will make way for the Year of the Boar.

As Brexit uncertainty continues, make the most of the year of the dog! Explore Asia. We assist companies with market insights and entry through our presence and network on the ground.

For more information on doing business in or with China and Asia, please contact our international trade team at exportbritain@gmchamber.co.uk