On January 1, 2014, just like very new year, people all over the world would greet each other “Happy New Year!”. But in China, people usually would just say “Happy Yuan Dan!”, Yuan Dan in Chinese language literally means “the beginning of a year”. Chinese people would reserve the greeting of “Happy New Year” to the real “Chinese New Year”, which falls on January 31, 2014. This is based on the traditional Chinese (lunar) calendar, and each new year falls on a different date. For example, last year (2013) it was on February 10, and next year (2015) it will be on February 19. It’s confusing but true! In fact, many Chinese, especially the older generation, usually celebrate their birthday according to the Chinese calendar and thus the date is different from year to year.
In China, the international new year is celebrated, but not to the same extent the traditional Chinese new year is. The new year (Jan 1) is a public holiday, and people just have a day off, relaxing at home or go shopping as normal, and go back to work the next day. But for the Chinese new year or commonly known as the “Spring Festival”, the holiday will range from 1 – 2 weeks. Some company even let their employees to enjoy a month long vacation.
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