7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Chinese New Year

With over 4,000 years of history, there are a lot of facts you may not know about this exciting celebration.

The Chinese New Year is upon us, with this year being the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac’s 12-year cycle. Those born under this sign are said to be smart, ambitious, clever, with a slight penchant for mischief.

Families will gather for the Reunion dinner, children will receive hongbao (red envelopes) filled with well wishes and money, and, of course, fireworks will light up the sky.

But with over 4,000 years of history, there are a lot of other facts you may not know about this exciting celebration.

1. More Fireworks Go Off In The Hour Proceeding The Chinese New Year Than Any Other Hour Of The Year


And rightly so! Photo: @helene_fr / Instagram

Fireworks aren’t just a fun New Year’s activity; it also plays an important role. All over China, from major cities to rural villages, millions of fireworks are lit to scare off evil spirits and demons.

2. No Matter When Your Dog Was Born, It’s Birthday Is The Second Day Of The New Year


“Well, this is just FANTASTIC news.” Photo: @xogeniexo / Instagram

The first few days of the New Year are marked by numerous animal’s birthdays. The first day of the New Year is the Birthday of the Chicken while the second is the Birthday of the Dog. Do your pup a favor and give it an extra treat. For the record, the Birthday of Men isn’t until the 7th day.

3. The Chinese New Year Is The World’s Largest Annual Human Migration


The struggle is real at this railway station in Shanghai. Photo: @henrique9394 / Instagram

As with any important holiday, people want to spend it with their families, and it’s no different for the Chinese New Year, just – bigger.

Known as Chunyun, the travel period beginning 15 days before the Lunar New Year and ending 40 days later will see roughly 3.5 billion journeys by all manner of transport - more than the population of China itself.

4. During the Chunyun, Sales Of Adult Diapers Increase By Fifty Percent


Alrighty then. Photo: @ninabdl_ / Instagram

With so many people traveling it’s fair to say the roads, railways and every other manner of transport will see full seats and delays. There is nothing worse than waiting in line, or non-moving traffic when nature calls. Say what you will, I call this smart planning.

5. In 2014, A Desperate Mother Took Out A Full Page Ad On The Cover Of A Newspaper Begging Her Son To Come Home For The New Year


Silly mom, no one reads the paper anymore! Photo:

After getting pressure from his parents to find a wife, one son stopped returning calls to his mother. Apparently it was too much, so the mother took an ad out in a Chinese-language Australian newspaper hoping her son would see it.

To sum it up, the ad said she won’t force him to marry if he just comes home for the holiday. Some things are universal.

6. It’s Becoming Increasingly Popular For Sons And Daughters To Take Home “Fake” Boyfriends And Girlfriends During The Holiday To Appease Their Parents


“Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet this guy I just picked up off the street.” Photo: @bummelliese / Instagram

Adult children in China are under increasing pressure from their parents to marry young. As is the case throughout the world, this pressure tends to grow over the holidays.

And while it wasn’t uncommon for singles to bring home friends or colleagues, some people are starting to essentially “rent” significant others. There are even apps for finding the right person.

7. According To The BBC, 2014 Was The Year Of The Whores


Needless to say, horses everywhere have been boycotting the network ever since. Photo: BBC News

Closed captioning is never 100% accurate, and sometimes the mistakes can be rather amusing. In 2014, while reporting on the Year of the Horse, BBC News had a subtitle snafu that read, “Welcome to the year of the whores. People around the globe celebrate…” That may be true.