The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s now called by many, is undoubtedly the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was created as a time to honor heavenly and household deities, as well as one’s ancestors.
In 1912 China adopted the Western Calendar and joined many in celebrating January 1 as New Year’s Day, but still continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, albeit with a new name–the aforementioned Spring Festival.
Unsurprisingly, the younger generations of China observe the holiday in a slightly different manner; the holiday has moved from an opportunity to renew family ties, primarily to a chance for relaxation from work.
Here are seven fun facts about the largest country’s largest holiday.
1. The dates for Chinese New Year aren’t set in stone. It varies yearly based on the lunar cycle, but always falls in January or February.
2. The most important days of Chinese New Year are Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of Chinese New Year – the latter is typically when they host the Chinese New Year parade.
3. Due to Chinese New Year, China holds the current record for the world’s largest organized fireworks display. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, fireworks are set off across the entire country, from displays in every town and city center to every farmyard and garden.
4. The whole holiday lasts fifteen
5. Another record held by China: most text messages sent in a day. As the population continues to grow, China continues to break the record each year. The current mark stands at 19 billion.
6. In 2010, an estimated 210 million people worldwide hit the planes, trains and automobiles to celebrate Chinese New Year. In China, where much of the migration took place, it’s been claimed that the trains were so overcrowded that people wore diapers for their +24hr journeys.
7. It’s estimated that a sixth of the world celebrate Chinese New Year, including more than 1 billion Chinese citizens. Now a mainstream event across local Chinatowns in New York, London and other global capitals, Chinese New Year rivals Christmas as the world’s most celebrated event.