Every year, billions of people celebrate the Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival. You may already know a few things about the wonderful dancing dragons, lanterns and dumplings, but what are the other, most interesting facts about this giant event that you need to know about? Let Buzz Bingo fill in the gaps for you.
Millions, or possibly billions, of red envelopes (known as hongbao or lai see) are handed over from one person to another at this time of year. Red is regarded as being a very lucky colour and envelopes of this colour are used to let people send their best wishes and sums of money to others. While a modest amount is often included, some envelopes contain the equivalent of thousands of pounds.
The tradition is for older people to give them to younger recipients. Managers will also give them to their workers and anyone who is considered as some form of leader is likely to give an envelope to the people they lead. These days, hongbao can also be sent conveniently through a mobile app.
These festivities last for 16 days and offer a great chance for the Chinese to travel and meet up with loved ones who live in different parts of the country. This is why the Chinese New Year is known as the biggest annual migration of humans anywhere on the planet.
It is thought that some 200 million or more people who live in mainland China will make a long-distance trip for this event in 2021, with millions of similar trips made in other parts of the world where it is celebrated. We guess that checking the traffic reports is another annual tradition.
The CCTV New Year’s Gala show runs for over four hours and is watched by the majority of the country’s population, giving an astonishing viewing figure of 700 million. This makes it the most watched TV show on Earth, miles ahead of anything else. In comparison, the most-watched programme in UK TV history was the 1966 World Cup Final, with just over 32 million cheering on that day.
It is a huge variety show performance, packed with glamorous hosts, dancers, acrobats and singers. This gala was first shown in the mid-1980s and now features interactive elements that allow viewers to vote for their favourite acts and send red envelopes over their phones.
One of the most spectacular aspects of the New Year’s event in China is the amount of fireworks that are sent fizzing into the skies. In fact, midnight at Chinese New Year sees the most intense hour of fireworks use anywhere in the world for the whole year.
They originally used fireworks, crackers and even burning pieces of bamboo to chase away evil spirits and demons. Now, people are discouraged from setting off their own fireworks, with official displays programmed across the country.
All of these facts add up to make the Chinese New Year one of the most fascinating events of the year and something to really enjoy if you ever get the chance to take part.