Considered the largest annual human migration across the world, “chunyun” kicked off in China recently with Beijing bidding farewell to its strict zero-COVID policy, after almost three years of the pandemic.
The Lunar New Year holiday in China this year will be the first without pandemic restrictions on foreign and domestic travel since 2020. One of the biggest mass movements of humans globally will be witnessed over the next few days in China. This will be on account of celebrations for the Lunar New Year and the resultant traveling – termed Chunyun.
What is Chunyun?
- Chunyun is simply the period around the Chinese New Year, based on the Lunar Calendar.
- It is a period of travel in China with an extremely high traffic load around the time of the Chinese New Year.
- There is no fixed date for the New Year, with the date being arrived at based on the moon’s position.
- It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later.
Where does the Lunar New Year come from?
- Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars traditional to many east Asian countries including China, South Korea, and Vietnam.
- Lunar calendars consist of 12 months, each month corresponding roughly to one cycle of the moon.
- Because 12 lunar cycles do not fill a whole year an extra month is added periodically to Lunar calendars to stay close to the solar year.
- Lunar New Year is regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun.
- Other names for the Lunar New Year are Tet in Vietnam, Solnal in Korea and Losar for Tibetans.