Lunar New Year is the most important event in the Chinese calendar. In the time surrounding the New Year, celebrations in China revolve around:
- Recognizing the beginning of a new year—and the arrival of spring.
- Symbolic acts to scare away Nian, a mythical beast who was said to attack on the eve of the New Year. It’s said that Nian is afraid of noises and the color red—hence the firecrackers and copious amounts of red you’ll see during the festival.
- Honoring one’s ancestors and spending time with family.
That last bullet is especially important where factories and the transportation industry are concerned.
During Lunar New Year, there’s an absolutely incredible human migration as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel to visit family for this significant celebration. (It even has a name: Chunyun, or “spring transportation.”) For comparison, take a look at the number of Americans who travel during the U.S. holiday season. It doesn’t come close to the number of people who travel around China for Lunar New Year.
- China, Lunar New Year – 415 million
- United States, Thanksgiving – 55.3 million
- United States, Holiday Season – 115.6 million ¹
Those 415 million people include Chinese factory workers and supervisors, plus workers across the transportation industry: truck drivers, port workers, dockworkers, ship personnel, etc. This obviously has a huge effect on factory and transportation operations across the country.