Nĭ hăo (hello) Tiny Travelers! In honor of Chinese New Year on January 25th, let’s get to know a little more about China and its fascinating facts and traditions.
Did you know that China is not only the world’s 4th largest country in square footage but also has the highest population? That’s right! China is currently home to more than 1.4 billion people!
The place where tea was first discovered, China is home to the longest man-made structure in the world: The Great Wall of China. Bonus fact: Some of the bricks in the wall are actually held together by rice flour!
The country’s national sport is table tennis, or, ping pong, which is an official Olympic sport!
There are many languages spoken in China but the main ones are Mandarin and Cantonese. The country’s currency is the Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
In China, the color red symbolizes happiness, good fortune and joy and can be found everywhere during Lunar New Year celebrations.
Each new year is named for one of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac: Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig and of course, Rat! According to ancient Chinese legend, people born in each animal’s year have some of that animal’s personality traits!
There are many traditions associated with Chinese New Year, or, Lunar New Year, which is actually a 15-day celebration that ends with a special lantern festival. Nearly all traditions and superstitions center around one thing: to bring in good luck!
People clean and organize their homes to rid them of the bad luck from the old year and make room for good luck in the new year. And once festivities begin, some people won’t even sweep the floors, get a haircut, cut noodles, or trim houseplants for fear that they will sweep or trim away incoming luck!
On the eve of the new year, families and loved ones will gather together for dinner, often eating traditional foods associated with good fortune such as: Dumplings to bring wealth; Fishfor prosperity; Noodles for happiness; and Sweet rice balls for family!