China: New Year’s Eve (31st December)
By and large, the Chinese have their calendar. The Chinese calendar does not follow the regular (Gregorian) calendar followed throughout the world. China celebrates the Gregorian New Year although it is not too hyped there. Legally, the Chinese enjoy seven holidays, besides national days and festivals.
The Gregorian New Year celebration
The Gregorian New Year celebration is the most popular holiday throughout the world. It follows the Christmas celebrations usually observed by some Christians. In Christian dominated countries, Christmas and New Year celebrations run for a whole week. The New Year’s Eve is the night prior to the New Year’s Day.
Conversely, China celebrates New Year’s Day for a single day. The Chinese take the day off work and school. Most of them spend the day indoors, relaxing and spending quality time with their loved ones. Others visit the malls and shopping streets to buy themselves a few items. Similarly, some people take nature walks in parks. Others prefer to eat out with their friends.
On New Year’s Day in China, the traffic situation is pretty favourable in most cities. This is so because most people prefer to stay at home and rest.
What happens on New Year’s Eve?
New Year’s Eve is observed on the night of 31st December every year. It ushers in and welcomes the New Year. New Year countdowns are common in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen among others.
After work, the Chinese will stream into public areas. In most areas New Year’s Eve celebrations get organized. These include parks, museums, libraries, major buildings, clubs, temples as well streets. Most of these venues are easily accessible and strategically located. These places are well decorated and lit in anticipation of the new year. Neon lights shine beautifully in their different colours.
The celebrations always begin with artistic performances from musicians, acrobats, and dancers. Entertainment has three categories.
The first category
The first category is the echoes of time. This segment celebrates China’s culture and traditions. China is rich in culture and heritage. Thus, there is so much to showcase in this segment. Dancers present traditional songs and dances to the crowd. Likewise, traditional martial arts are part of the presentation.
The second segment
The second segment is the symphony of a new era. This segment showcases contemporary Chinese modern culture. China is the world’s longest civilization. As such, the cultural and traditional practices keep changing. This is due to modification and adoption of new practices. The symphony of a new era shows how China has modernized through civilization. Modern artistes perform while dance troupes showcase new dance moves. Also, other performers show new drum beating techniques. Most Chinese operas feature in this segment.
Finally, the call to the future begins. This bit focuses on the delivery of New Year’s greetings and speeches from significant figures in China. These include political leaders, religious leaders as well as diplomatic leaders. Most of them give messages of hope and prosperity to the citizens of China. They go ahead and tell the plans they have in the different capacities of leadership they hold.
All performances and presentations all happen until a few minutes to midnight. At exactly 11.59pm, the countdown to the New Year begins. At 12.00 a.m., the new year begins with song and dance. Neon lights work their way all over. Firework explosives find their way into the air as people watch in awe. The New Year is here with us. May people make silent wishes for their new year.
When the New Year ushers in, most people leave the venues and head home. Others remain and have fun until later hours of the morning.
On New Year’s Day, friends and families exchange messages of good wishes for the new year. They use this day to reflect on the past year as they focus on the new year. Most noteworthy, the Chinese New Year is celebrated a few days after the Gregorian New Year. People in China begin to plan for the Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese New Year is greatly celebrated.