As an American, I’m used to celebrating the New Year on December 31st. However in China, December 31st came and went without a notice. But January 30th, however, was quite the holiday. China still operates on the Lunar Calendar, which means their new year begins at a different time each year. This year, the Year of the Horse, kicked off on January 31st.
New Years in China is something else. Cities shut down. Businesses close. People leave the cities for their home villages. Bus stations and train stations are packed. We spent the week leading up to the New Year in a village, and the actual New Year celebration in the city of Nanning, in Guangxi province. Chinese New Years is known for two things – fireworks & food. And we celebrated with both!
The fireworks I’m used to in America were NOTHING compared to the fireworks I saw in China. NOTHING. The bigger the better seems to be the Chinese motto when it comes to fireworks. Or maybe I should say, the louder the better. Firecrackers are set off what seems like every day all day on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Typically, the loud noises ward off evil spirits, so firecrackers are often set off inside of apartment complexes or very close to doorways as well. It’s about as loud as it sounds. But what an experience. For almost an hour after midnight on New Years Eve, the night air was full of light, smoke and constant explosions. So incredible.
The food was equally extravagant. We were hosted at two different New Year’s parties over the long weekend, and I have never eaten so much in my life! Dumplings, meats, soups, rolls, and I don’t even know what else I ate those days. All I know is that it was good, and I was stuffed.
New holidays in new countries are always fun, and I loved celebrated the New New Year in China with new friends!