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Long nian kuai le!

January 24, 2012

Happy Chinese Year of the Dragon , Happy Spring Festival!

Yesterday China and other Asian countries and communities all over the world celebrated the first day of the Chinese Lunar Year, or Spring Festival (chunjie).

The Year of the Dragon is associated with new good beginnings and good fortune. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit and into business will see success, it is also a good time to get married, have children or start a new business.

Traditional Chinese New Year celebrations last 15 days and finish with the Lantern Festival.  There will be celebrations all over the world, so look out for events in your area.

If you’re located in New Zealand check out events in Auckland and Christchurch,  as well as Wellington.

So, no need to get in touch with your Chinese business partners or colleagues between 22 January until 28th!

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Last year I wrote about the pressure of migrant workers to make it home over the Golden Holidays (this year between 22 – 28 January).

This year I thought I’d share a relatively new phenomenon: Renting a Girl or Boyfriend to Return Home for New Year.

The pressure is on for the 20 something olds from parents and family to return home with a prospective partner. To avoid the grilling around the traditional round table on New Year’s Eve, or to gain face with relatives some seem to resort to hiring a fake partner.
According to them “renting a girl or boy friend” during this traditional festival when they have to return home for a family reunion means to show filial piety to their parents.

The public opinions on this new trend are naturally split.  Xinhua news agency interviewed a psychology professor and a lawyer on the topic prior to this year’s Spring Festival: while it’s not illegal to impersonate someone’s partner, it’s clearly not a long-term solution, and may even cause sadness and embarrassment further down the road.

The English online version of the Chinese People’s Daily even listed the prices people were expecting to pay for ‘Renting girlfriend for New Year” in ten cities last year.   You can check for yourself: put in “租友过年” (renting a friend for the New Year) on google or on baidu , its Chinese equivalent, to see how popular this topic has become.

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