The beginning of a not-yet-new year

2018 is here! Or rather, it is in fact the start of a new year according to all agenda’s, forms and word documents. However, China is a bit of an oddity in that sense.

Of course a large part of Asia and South-East Asia all celebrate Lunar New Year. The date which so happens to coincide with Valentine’s Day this year, which will surely heighten the fun for everyone. This means that New Year’s Eve is utterly uneventful, unfestive and unexciting. I remember that on December 31st there were exactly 3 bangs outside of my house, after which I went to my window to see that there were indeed no fireworks being set of.

Most Chinese also tend to be quite lackadaisical around ‘western’ new year. There is a (shockingly) large amount of people dat just go to sleep at 23 o’clock, not only parents and elderly. There are not really that many parties being held and as mentioned the fireworks are often very limited.

It always seems mystifying to me that you do end the year and start a new one, mainly noticeable because of the different number, but collectively decide to not celebrate. Instead, you keep track of a different calendar, with all these spcial days and names, and collectively choose to celebrate the new year on an entirely different day and for the heck of it also take 1 week for all the fun.

What is of course not lagging behind, is the commerce. This year the zodiac sing in the spotlights is the dog. And thus, although the year has technically not started yet, we see all these dog outfits, mugs, notebooks and calendars waiting to be bought. Furthermore, train tickets for the new year’s travel will also be on sale soon, which will inevitably lead to being unable to buy train tickets to even the most obscure places. Yes, the new year may not have arrived yet, but there is enough to remind us that it is indeed coming.

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