Tag: Chinese New Year

New Zealand bound

New Zealand bound

Chinese New Year is just around the corner – the year of the pig will start next week – and so is our next trip. We have 3 weeks off and together with 2 of our Shanghai friends we’ll rent a car and drive more than 3,000 km across NEW ZEALAND!

After landing in Auckland, we have 1 week on the North Island. Our plan is to do the following:

  • A tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set
  • See the glowworm caves in Waitomo
  • Explore Rotorua
  • Hike the Tongariro Crossing (if weather permits)
  • Visit Wellington

From Wellington we’ll take the ferry over to the South Island and there we’ll have another 2 weeks to …

  • Spend 2 days in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Drive down to Fox and Franz Joseph Glacier via the Pancake Rocks
  • Spend a day in Wanaka/Mt. Aspiring National Park
  • See Queenstown
  • Cruise both Milford and Doubtful Sound
  • Hike at Mount Cook, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo
  • Drive to Christchurch to fly back to Auckland and spend 1 day there

We leave tomorrow night. I. Can’t. Wait.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

In China, everyone is getting ready for Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. From what I understand it’s the most important holiday here, typically celebrated with family. The celebrations start on New Year’s Eve with a family dinner and fireworks at midnight. Then, every day has different meanings and traditions. My coworker told me the noisiest day is when the God of Wealth is celebrated because everyone wants to make sure they get money by lighting fireworks.

When the new year starts is determined by the lunar calendar, so it’s a bit different every year. Last year it was at the end of January and this year the new year starts February 16. Every year has a zodiac animal assigned to it, there are 12 of them: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Right now we are still in the year of the rooster. From all the decorations it’s hard to miss what will be next.

Fun fact: It’s bad luck when it’s your zodiac year. To avoid this bad luck, all dogs (people born in 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970 …) should wear something red all year, for example red underwear.

Only the first 3 days of the new year are National Holidays but according to the government working day calendar companies close for 7 days: From the day before the New Year to the 6th day of the New Year. 3 days are holiday, 2 days are from the weekend and the remaining 2 days have to be made up by working the Sunday before and the Saturday after the festival.

The traditional gift people give each other are are hóngbāos: red envelopes or red packets with money in them. Even WeChat has a red packet function.

According to my colleague, red packets are given from the older to the younger generation and it’s really only for children. Looks like I won’t get any presents then.