18 Feb Understanding Chinese New Year When you observe the Chinese culture, it is very clear that the New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar; it is the first day of the New Year in the lunar calendar. GAC participants who spend the new year in China are usually those doing the Chinese language learning option and would normally get just a week (or more) away from school. It’s funny that this is the one holiday where Chinese people do not compromise on holiday time! It is interesting that Chinese New Year does not fall on the same day every year like the Western new year celebrated every year January 1st. Leading up to the New Year, Chinese people will start to thoroughly clean their homes and yards in a symbol gesture of ridding the home of bad spirits and remnants of the past year. This is in preparation to accept all the blessings, good fortune and good luck that comes with the start of a new year. The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It is strange that actually during the new year, it is still winter time in many Chinese cities, it’s just that the traditionally, China follows the lunar calendar. Spring represents a time for new beginnings, but on a more literal level, this is how farmers used to know that they would need to get ready for sowing and planting. If you are in Beijing during the Chinese new year period, there is a very noticeable quietness and emptiness – many Chinese are still in the habit of returning to their original homes to spend the new year with family and close friends. In many parts of China, this is the only holiday long enough for people to go back home and see relatives and parents. This is especially true for migrant workers, the factory workers in the southern provinces and others who find work in distant cities away from home. During this time, those looking for internship opportunities in China might experience delayed responses as most companies will also close completely for the mandatory days. Share with us, have you ever experienced Chinese New Year celebrations in this country?