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Celebrating Chinese New Year in 2021

As supply chains across the world navigate the disruption caused by both COVID and the current new Brexit regulations, Chinese New Year is the third area that needs further consideration.

More and more shippers have announced they will be manufacturing through the holiday as the Chinese government discourages workers from travelling home due to the surging Covid cases in many parts of China. This could create backlogs during CNY as large numbers of freighter flights have been cancelled weeks ago. Post CNY, the market is expected to be robust as a result of inventory replenishment and an ocean market that will continue to be heavily congested. The impact on yields is still unclear, but we anticipate rates staying at a higher level as we close out Q1.

Our Ligentia teams are assisting customers by operating charter flights to avoid any disruption in service over this period.

How will Chinese New Year be different in 2021?

With social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions in place, and with many public events already having been cancelled, there is little doubt that 2021’s Chinese New Year will feel very different. Nevertheless, people are still very much looking forward to the celebrations, with meeting up with friends and cooking their own Chinese New Year feasts high on the agenda.

“Things are very different, but we are still looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year,” says Sally Hu, Ligentia’s HR Business Partner in China. “The whole family normally gather together to celebrate, and many people will be unable to return to their hometowns to do this, which is naturally disappointing. But we are finding new ways to celebrate, such as gathering with friends locally!”

A traditional Chinese New Year

Traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year vary widely between different regions and countries. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances you might expect:

  • Reunion Dinners: Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends. Many people travel long distances to be together, particularly for their New Year’s Eve feast. Dishes with lucky meanings are included, such as fish, dumplings and spring rolls
  • Deocrations: In the run-up to Chinese New Year, but traditionally on New Year’s Eve, people decorate their houses using red lanterns, paper cutouts and New Year’s paintings, which are all thought to keep evil away. As this year is the Year of the Ox, you can expect to see decorations that reflect this.
  • Red Envelopes: After the Reunion Dinner, parents give children red envelopes, wishing them health, growth and good studies. Money in these envelopes is believed to bring good luck
  • Firecrackers & Fireworks: As soon as New Year arrives, firecrackers and fireworks are set off across China. It’s believed that the louder the firecrackers, the luckier it is for business and farming in the year to come
  • Lion & Dragon Dances: Public parades and performances are commonplace, featuring colourful lions and dragons. Lion and dragon dances can usually be seen on New Year’s Day and, while regaining popularity in China, they are very popular in Hong Kong and Macau

2021: Year of the Ox

In Chinese tradition, each year is characterised by one of the 12 animals that feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has a year dedicated to them once ever 12 years, in a cycle.

Leaving the Year of the Rat behind, 2021 is the Year of the Ox, which symbolizes strength and determination.

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