It’s the biggest human migration in the world to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. Sure, there are lots of annoyances, but let’s think positive. Here are ten things that are great about Spring Festival.

1. Everyone is happy.

There’s so much excitement in the air, and everyone seems to be in a good mood. (I mean AFTER they get through the train ride, of course.)

2. Kids appear out of the woodwork.

Schoooooool’s out – for – win-ter! And the kids are suddenly EVERYWHERE. Like, you didn’t even realize there were that many children living in your xiaoqu. One time, I saw a high school student going to my neighbor’s door during Chun Jie and thought he must be their visiting cousin or something. Nope. He was our neighbors’ CHILD. I had just never seen him during the normal school year, when he left for school at the crack o’ dawn and got back after we were in bed most nights. New Year’s is different. The kids are all home, and their moms and grandmas have shooed them outside to go play with the next item.

3. Legal fireworks.

C’mon, fellow pyromaniacs, back me up. It’s a ton of fun to load up on colorful explosives that are Made in China, right?

4. Ghost town.

If you’re in a city, you’ve got the whole place to yourself. Wide open roads and deserted sidewalks. It’s just you and the McDonald’s workers. Everyone else has xiaxiang’d outta there.

5. New decorations.

Since these things only get changed once a year, it’s fun to see them when they’re fresh and shiny instead of peeling and covered in dust.

6. Animal puns.

I love seeing all the creative ways that the featured zodiac animal is incorporated into New Year’s ads and greetings. 狗年旺旺!

7. Snacks.

Aisles and piles and miles of snacks.

8. Hongbao.

No one feels sad when bosses are handing out bonuses and kids are getting money from every relative they know (plus several they don’t).

9. Traditions and symbols.

Eat your juzi and your fish and your jiaozi because everything has 5000 years of history backing it up.

10. Good movies.

This is when the best China feature films are released. All two of them! (Okay, that’s mean and not true. I repent. There are definitely a lot of great films coming out of China these days. Speaking of which, has anyone seen Monster Hunt 2 yet?)

Happy Year of the Dog, everyone!

Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who has already gotten my book, HOME, JAMES! I’m so excited to hear how much you like it, and that you’re recommending it to other laowai friends. Thank you! 


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