The Year of the Pig – Significations and Trends

2019 marks the end of the Year of the Dog, now it’s time for the Year of the Pig which is also the last round of the 12-years 12-different animals Chinese zodiac cycle, therefore setting a fresh new start on this 2000-year-old system.

Clock reset

In China’s culture, the Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, is the longest holiday of the year. In the 21st century, the national holiday begins on the first of the Lunar Calendar and lasts until the 15th of the first month. In 2019, Chinese New Year begins on February 5th and ends on February 19th. Since all the stores are closed for the holiday’s first five days at least, people begin to stock up their supplies a few days before the biggest event of the year beginning with the Laba Festival. The main festivities begin during the Little Year on January 28th, then comes the Spring Festival which last until the Lantern Festival on February 19th.

Make some place for the P.I.G

According to one myth, the Pig is ranked last of the twelve animals included in the Chinese zodiac cycle because he overslept and arrived late to the party of the Jade Emperor of Chinese mythology. Another version says that his house was destroyed by a wolf so that he had to rebuild it before he could attempt the party, which is why he’s the last of all the zodiac animals. The pig represents wealth and fortune in Chinese culture just as its chubby face and big ears does.

Speaking of Chinese mythology, everybody knows at least one among these myths of CNY

•           The Monster and New Year’s Eve

•           Evil Spirits and Poetry

•           Fortune has Arrived!

•           Dumplings and Ears

•           Origin of Spring Festive Wine

•           Origin of Red Pockets

•           The Stove God and Candy

•           The 12 Zodiac Animals

•           Red Underwear Tradition

•           The Swan and the Lantern Festival

 

CNY in terms of numbers

Chinese New Year is seen as the largest annual human migration on earth, as millions of Chinese citizens travel around the globe (an estimated 7 million) and back to their hometowns (386 million domestically) in order to celebrate this once-a-year holiday with their families and cherished ones. With $70.2 billion (RMB 475 billion) of revenue generated during 2018’s CNY in China and abroad, we can expect this year’s numbers to be even higher, therefore beating last year’s record ones. Indeed, Chinese New Year is a major revenue source for a huge number of retailers and service providers as many national but also international companies make their highest turnovers during this specific month of the year. This oversight can be explained by the fact that Chinese people are more willing and eager to buy stuff and spend money for the occasion.

CNY on WeChat

Each year’s Spring Festival is an opportunity for merchants to increase their marketing efforts by implementing a series of promotions on WeChat. According to the tech giant Tencent, more than 760 million people sent out digital red packets on WeChat during 2018’s Spring Festival. These monetary gifts known as hongbao in Chinese are a feature integrated within the most used social application in China that anyone can send out (as long as they have currency in their e-wallet) or receive for an amount varying between 0 and 200 yuan to or from anybody within their contact list. This number represents around 55 percent of the entire population of China and also 78 percent of the total monthly active users of WeChat.

What’s even more interesting is that the payment system of the app known as WeChat Pay allow Chinese tourists to use their received red packets in order to purchase items in foreign countries by paying in Chinese yuan, while the merchants receives the payments in their local currencies. Destinations such as the U.S., Australia, Italy, the U.K. or France are all listed among top destinations for this massive Chinese tourists spending wave. This is why brands have to adapt their marketing content in order to attract as many tourists as possible if their objectives are to maximize profits during this unique opportunity of the year.

xin nian kuai le, and so let the annual golden rush begin!


 

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