While President Trump is making his final preparations for tonight's State of the Union address, all Asian cultures across the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year. February 5 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, which will be the Year of the Pig.
Despite its controversial reputation in the Western countries, the pig has a special place in the Chinese culture. In the Chinese agrarian past, the pig was often associated with wealth. Nowadays, it is a symbol of luck, well-being, loyalty, empathy, trust, and understanding. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Pig are hard-working, peace-loving, and generous.
Some of the most famous Americans born in the year of the pig are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton, and Ronald Reagan.
Celebrations have already kicked off in Chinatown in Sydney, Australia, where the landmark Opera House was lit in red. As the Chinese tradition dictates that the more dumplings you eat at the New Year's Eve, the more money you will have, Sydney also broke the world record for the number of volunteers to eat as many dumplings as they can at once. Referring to the Chinese traditions, it is also recommended that you buy a pig-shaped souvenir to bring money, love, and luck to your home.
The biggest celebrations of the Chinese New Year outside of China, are in London, says Lawrence Lee, of the London Chinatown Chinese Association, highlighting that the Chinese culture is well-accepted in the United Kingdom. The first festivities started in the 1970s, and since then, it has turned into one of the most visited tourist attractions in the British capital. Last year, 700,000 tourists attended the celebrations in the Soho neighborhood, Lee pointed out. This year, the festivities will start during the weekend.
The Lunar New Year is also associated with the world's largest annual human migration. Hundreds of millions rural migrant laborers, which are currently the backbone of the Chinese economy, traditionally travel home to celebrate with their families. The same goes for the white-collar Chinese professionals working in the big cities.
This year, the Chinese government expects about 3 billion trips for the traditional Nian Ye Fan reunion dinner. The majority of them undertaken by road, while 413 million by train, estimated the government.
Some of the single Chinese young people even ''hire'' a fake date to bring home for the festivities to avoid questions about their personal lives by family and relatives. According to popular Chinese dating sites, the prices of a fake date vary up to $880.
Have you ever welcomed the Lunar New Year abroad? Do you have good memories?