The Year of the Snake

9 Feb


(The Guardian, 2013) Lunar New Year Celebrations in Beijing.

Millions are gathering across China to celebrate the Lunar New Year the country’s largest national holiday. Also known as the Spring Festival celebrations begin from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day (The Guardian, 2013).

The celebrations result in the largest mass migration on Earth as family tradition ensures millions of migrant workers across the country return home for the festivities. For many this holiday can be the only break from relentless work patterns throughout the year. An estimated 200 million people travel to reach family (BBC,2013) making the travel experience exceptionally difficult, such inconveniences are being alleviated by a multitude of products from China’s innovative entrepreneurs. The majority travel by train for potentially days at a time in difficult, cramped and even painful conditions. Products introduced include the “body supporter” which allows passengers to sleep in a comfortable position during cramp conditions, hundreds have been sold within the last month (BBC, 2013). Also the unique “mask pillow” and urine bags have been big sellers.


The mask pillow (BBC, 2013).

The shockingly challenging conditions of travel highlight the importance of family and tradition to Chinese society. The substantiated changes in labour structure, through the migrant worker system alongside the difficulties of moving across a vast region in such high numbers are yet to deteriorate traditional values which remain prominent and integral across China.  


BBC News ‘Chinese New Year: Quirky gadgets ease getaway pain’:

The Guardian ‘In Pictures: Lunar New Year Celebrations:


One Response to “The Year of the Snake”

  1. na8g10 February 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Culture, tradition and family are things that always stand out when you look into China. I think the marriage issue is an interesting one and there was an article on the BBC about it fairly recently talking about the pressures of marriage, especially during the Chinese New Year.

    “Twenty-somethings in China – young women especially – face a strict societal deadline to find a husband before they turn 30.

    According to Zhou Xiaopeng, a consultant with, one of China’s biggest dating agencies, the pressure for singles to settle down crescendos around Chinese New Year.” (BBC, 2013)

    The article mentions how Chinese women go as far as renting fake boyfriends for a meal with the family during Chinese New Year. I think this highlights how important tradition still is to the Chinese, and there haven’t been many signs of it changing anytime soon. However, as the article states, the people feeling pressured at the moment to get married will understand what it feels like and will as a result be likely not to apply the same type of pressure to their children. However, if this was the case, you’d have expected the pressure to get married to have died down a long time ago. But the world in general seems to be becoming more progressive, so maybe it won’t be very long until this kind of pressure isn’t felt anymore, so you could argue it both ways.


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