Two Year Ends

There are two year ends in China.

One is Dec 31, the last day of the western calendar.

The other is today, the last day of the 12th month in lunar calendar. (I don’t think I should also call it December).

This year end seems to be more like the last day since it allows more time (7 days) to take a break. Many business also shutdown, and so do my friends, so it provides a better environment to really take a rest, and do some reflection.

This is THE moment for people to return home and reunion with their families. The peak of transportation for returning people will sharply goes down, and be ready for the next return peak 7 days later.

Reading Books

Today, I start to read some books, like The Importance of Living (1937) By Lin Yutang. It is a great book. It expresses simliar philosophy toward life as Alan De Botton in The Art of Travel. To be more exactly, it is the wisdom of living from long time ago in the history. I’d like everyone who are interested in Chinese culture to read this book. It explains a lot of interesting things in China and compare it with the western culture.

The book was written in 1937. So many things changed after 70 years. It seems current Shanghai is more like New York and Boston in terms of culture, and is completely from the values of traditional Chinese culture. For example, the “cult of idle life” disappeared from daily life in Shanghai. A idle afternoon is nothing compared to 10 dollors of business for many people.

I feel like a Lin when I try to bridge the western and eastern culture, however, I don’t have the wisdom to see through the true difference, and how to brigde it culturely. So let me just start by introducting some handy information first…

So, have a great Chinese New Year (if you celebrate it in your country/area/region).

13 thoughts on “Two Year Ends

  1. At present the sunshine in Beijing is bright, and the sounds of firecrackers are heard from time to time outside, which trigger the sound of car alarms, or I will sleep through this afternoon.

    I’ll go out in a moment to post a parcel and buy eletricity from a bank, or I’ll have to face a Chinese New Year without light and entertainment, or even food…

  2. Pardon me, please explain what does “buy electricity from a bank” actually means in China ???

  3. In Beijing, every household has an IC card issued by the Beijing Power Grid (or sth like that). You have to bring it with you when you need to buy some electricity from a bank. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) provides such service in Beijing, but I don’t know if it is also available from other Banks, since this is the first time that I used the card. The price of electricity in Beijing is 0.48_ (I don’t have the exact figure) yuan/kwh. So chances are that the staff at the bank will ask you how much you want to buy, and by saying how much, they are expecting you to say the sum of money you are planning to pay, not how many kwhs you want to have (but of course it’s Okay to say ‘I want to buy 300 kwhs.’ to him/her, but if you say, like, ‘I want to buy 299 kwhs’, then probably the staff will look at you carefully to check if there is something wrong with you :) After payment by cash or by deducting from your bank account, the staff will “replenish” your IC card. The number of kwhs on your meter will display when it’s running below 50. At this time you can insert the card in the slot of the meter. The amount of eletricity you bought will then recognised by the meter.

  4. Interesting concept with the IC card. I figured that you would go to the bank, and they give you a box of electrons to take home.

    In the US, they send you a bill every month depending on how much you used the previous month. It is possible to use less than zero KWh if you have solar cells or wind mills. You buy electricity when you need it, and sell them when you don’t. In that case, the power company sends you a check.

  5. why do the Chinese celebrate two New Years? they celebrate the calendar New Year just like most other people in the world and then they also celebrate the Chinese lunar New Year. Isn’t one New Year celebration enough just like one birthday celebration?

    also Chinese who live in some other countries such as in Indonesia and Malaysia have a hard time celebrating the Chinese New Year there because this one is called the *Year of the Pig*. Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia can’t stand the pig and don’t eat pig either.

  6. Hey genius, one is the new year based on the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar. The other is the Chinese calender, a lunar calendar.

    There are many other calendars in the world, the Hebrew calendar, the Iranian calendar, etc.

  7. To your second question, because the Chinese animal zodiac has been around much longer than Islam.

    Current year is Year 4704 in the Chinese calendar. The prophet Muhammad was born 1437 years ago, and did not start preaching until the year 610 AD.

  8. Hey genius back at you. does what you say mean that approximately 20+ Chinese Muslims in mainland China also celebrated the Year of the Pig?

  9. “the 12th month in lunar calendar. (I don’t think I should also call it December).”

    I hate it when Chinese people use the names of the months in English to describe a month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It not only is inaccurate, but also it is causes needless confusion.

  10. Shrek7: Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia DON’T have any hard time celebrating Chinese New Year, even this is the year of pig. The Muslims are apparently mroe mature than you could imagine!

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