Chinese New Year Celebrations
As the 12th of February fast approaches, all of us at Primasia would like to remind our international business partners and rejoice with our local business partners that one of the biggest Chinese holidays is fast approaching, The Spring Festival, also known to many as the ’Lunar New Year’. Steeped in legend, the origins of the Lunar New Year festival are thousands of years old, legend has it there lived a beast that is believed to have feasted on human flesh on New Year’s Day. It is believed that because the beast feared the color red and loud noises, red paper decorations are pasted on the doors and lanterns are burned through the night, firecrackers were lit all to frighten the beast away.
The Lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon rather than the days of the year. Traditionally, approximately 10 days before the beginning of the lunar year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck that might be lingering inside. This is a custom known as ‘Sweeping of the grounds’. The festivities in and around Asia whether it be the Chinese ‘Chunjie’ to the South Korea ‘Solnal’ is a time to spend together with friends, family, and other loved ones. Therefore, many businesses typically around China and some of Asia will pause for the festival period pausing business operations until the period is finished.
Chinese New Year is often seen as the festival which values the ideas of ‘reunion’ and ‘togetherness’. It is because of these core ideas many families would travel to be with there parents and extended families causing a mass human migration. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has enforced strict controls on travel and in some cases has incentivized staying where they live, and they work. Although these new restrictions will limit the travel from city to city, it is tradition that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are reserved only for family celebrations. This includes religious ceremonies and other traditions to honor their family ancestors.
On New Year’s Day, family members receive red envelopes (Lai See) which usually contains small amounts of cash money. Lion dances, traditional Chinese dances and big firework displays are commonplace throughout the holidays. In the end, this all leads up to the festival finale: The Lantern festival. This festival is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this day families and friends take part in the many lantern carnivals decorating their house in lantern lights and eating traditional food such as sticky rice balls and prosperity cakes.
Of course, you must remember that this is an official holiday period in East Asia. Therefore, all governmental sectors are closed as well as most privately owned businesses. Business operations in summary stops in China. A literal blackout. Students enjoy a month winter holiday to celebrate the festivities whilst working adults get up to 7 days off work.
Business will then usually resume on the 8th day of the festival. This is because the number ‘8’ is known as a favorable number in Chinese culture. For most business-to-business organizations (B2B), with the number of businesses closed there would be a decrease in sales figures during this period. Here is a summary of effects Chinese New Year on Your Business.
Bank Closures During Chinese New Year
Due to the Celebrations all banks will be closed. Therefore, no payment can be processed during the week of CNY. Therefore, it is important that you plan company payment if they need to be finalized before the events of CNY. If not managed properly, your company’s payment process and cash flow payments could be lagged. This in turn, will create a negative impact on your business especially in you have businesses partner in East Asia.
Businesses Not in Operation
As mentioned throughout, most businesses, offices and local shops will be closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year. Local business districts in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. will become quiet with only few people on the streets. If you have any items or payment left outstanding during the February period, plan and arrange forward as many people are going to take short breaks during the festival period.
Before we wrap this article to a close, we would like to wish you our readers and clients a happy Lunar New Year! We hope (despite the restrictions) you all still have a memorable time with your loved ones and enjoy the festivities whether you are in Hong Kong or across East Asia!
Primasia Corporate Services is a Hong Kong based corporate services provider that has been supporting its clients in Asia for over three decades. Among several of our services, Primasia Hong Kong (Primasia) offers our clients Online Accounting services, China Company Incorporation services, Virtual CFO services, MPF Filing services, Profit tax filing services, Employment return filing services, Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) incorporation and registration services etc. One of our services which we are proud to be offering our clientele is our investment visa and working visa Hong Kong services.
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