Uncovering the traditions of Chinese New Year

In this blog our China Careers Specialist, Shuo, explains more about the rich traditions of Chinese New Year, and what they mean to her.

Chinese New Year 2022 is almost upon us. This year it falls on Tuesday 1 February 2022. Chinese New Year marks the transition between zodiac signs from the 2021 Year of the Ox to the 2022 Year of the Tiger. Chinese New Year celebration is the oldest and most prominent traditional festival in China, and can be traced back more than 4,000 years to the Yin and Shang Dynasties. Today, Chinese New Year is celebrated by millions of people across the globe.

There are a wide variety of Chinese New Year traditions that have been passed down. Many existing customs are based on myth, such as the popular folklore story of Nian. Legend spoke of the mythical beast Nian. Every lunar New Year's Eve, Nian would crawl out attack and kill villagers. One year, in a remote village in China, children were playing with a bunch of burning bamboo in the courtyard. The bright red burning fire and loud popping sound made by the burning bamboo scared the beast away, and the Chinese New Year traditions were born. Today, the 15-day New Year festivities are celebrated with firework displays, a Festival of Lanterns, dancing dragon performances, red decorations, and New Year’s Eve family reunion dinners. 

For Chinese people, everyone has a familiar taste of the Chinese New Year, but everyone's experiences of the New Year are somewhat different. I was born in a small town in Northeast China, famous for its cold snowy winter and International Ice and Snow Festival.  Chinese New Year was always associated with the white pristine snow, reminiscent of festive delights, like the tastes of powdered sugar. I remember going to buy festive treats with my family on the morning of Chinese New Year's Eve when I was a child, running through beautiful snowy alleys impatiently, I don’t know how many times I fell upon the snow, laughing all the way. There are always many precious memory fragments in the memories of the Chinese New Year which ripples in one’s heart.

Nowadays, living in the metropolitan city of Birmingham in the UK, my Chinese New Year customs mean shopping trips to Chinatown, sourcing festival decorations online, visiting London’s West End to enjoy a colourful parade, performances and traditional Chinese food, and, of course, the traditional WeChat with friends and family in China.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year 2022!

Shuo is our dedicated China Careers Specialist, focusing on the MSc programmes. She started her career in banking and finance as a Customer Relationship Manager before moving into Higher Education as an International Development Manager with accountability for partnership development and international student recruitment from East Asia at various HE institutions.

As a Career Coach she helps WBS Masters students to achieve their future career aspirations by providing one-to-one coaching sessions, careers workshops, and organising careers events to help students develop the key careers skills and knowledge required to enter particular job roles and industries in China. Discover more about our CareersPlus offering here.