Living in China has its advantages. You can eat 24 hours a day, you can cycle pretty much wherever you want, you can spit on the streets or pretty much everywhere (not that I do so of course, I am a proper educated lady) and you get to celebrate new year twice!
Granted, the first new year celebrations are quite anticlimactic. People do wish each other happy new year, there are parties, drinks and get-togethers but it is not the same. There are no fireworks, many people simply go to bed before 12 and the atmosphere is not there. No holidays, tomorrow is just another day, except with a few number changes.
For the real festivities, you need to look at the Lunar New Year (based on the Lunar calendar, of which I do not understand anything either). It generally takes place somewhere end of January-end of February-ish (wish it was one month!) and lasts about 7-10 days officially.
So what happens? The usual, millions of people are on the move, villages are (or should be) flooded with people, an amount of food and alcohol is consumed that reaches to the heaven, praying to the heavens by going to the temple, general happiness, joy and good quality family time (possibly with the added bonus of being pressured by family members to settle and get married).
You probably get the general idea, but how does it actually feel? I have no clue. I have no Chinese family I know and the previous times with Chinese New Year I was on an airport in Shenzhen (watching the KFC employees having hotpot at around 3AM and contemplating who had the saddest New Year) and afterwards in Taiwan (where there were temple festivities, but also mainly very quiet); and last year I was in Japan where I did go to Yokohama (the Chinatown of Tokyo so to say) but it is of course not the same. Oh yeah, and Chinese New Year celebrations in the Netherlands, which enlightened me that this existed at all.
But this year is different! I will be in Beijing! what to expect? Well, eating and making dumplings, most things in general to be closed, very empty streets, hopefully some fresh air, half the days off that the usual Chinese get (although we do not have to compensate) and a lot of noise (so perhaps a stressed kitten will get added to the mix). I actually thought of making new year’s resolutions again this morning. But then I did not really make any for the Western new year either. Except subconsciously to really stop with biting my nails (improving!), to write more (improving!) and to stay positive (improving!).
So I guess the only thing left to write is ‘Happy New Year!’ and keep on going in the year of the rooster!