This year, Chinese New Year is February the 3rd and is the Year of the Rabbit.
Chinese New Year is the holiday that celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the lunar calendar. It is the most important holidays for Chinese families and equivalent to Christmas to westerners.
The holiday is celebrated with big family gatherings, gift giving and the display of festive decorations -all focused on bringing good luck for the new year and celebrating the coming of spring.
The start of Chinese New Year changes every year since it is dictated by the lunar calendar. The Gregorian or solar calendar–which is based on the Earth’s movement around the sun and has a fixed number of 365 days a year (366 during a leap year)–is the most widely used calendar system in the world and has been the official calendar used in China since 1912.
But in China the lunar calendar is still used to determine traditional holidays like Chinese New Year. Since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon, which has a shorter cycle than the sun, Chinese New Year is never on the same day each year, but typically falls somewhere between January 21st and February 20th.
Celebrations can actually last up to a month starting two weeks before and ending two weeks after. Originally the celebrations lasted for lengthy amounts of time because China was a very agriculture-based country so farmers took the whole month off to rest since crops couldn’t be planted during the winter. Nowadays the holidays are usually one week before and two weeks after.
Here in TPI Premiums it means a lot more to us than festivities. We source a lot of our goods from China so need to carefully watch lead times on our client orders around this time and ensure we build it in.
From a production perspective, factories are in effect out of commission production wise for a whole month. This is due to labour supplies. Most of the factories are based in large cities but the workers have traveled from rural areas many thousands of miles. After they have been home for Chinese New Year the workers try to get work nearer to home and often do not return to their original employer. The original employer must then find new staff which with China’s growth and wages increases is not always easy. This delays startup after Chinese New Year so if ordering anything from China you would be best advised to allow one month for this production shut down.
Conor Callinan , TPI Premiums.