With companies celebrating their year-end galas, people getting their red packets, and businesses ready to take a pause, we could simply tell that the Chinese New Year is coming.
The week-long Chinese New Year holidays have become a mandatory celebration for everyone working and living in China. While it is a good opportunity to be back home and see some of the childhood friends, it is also the only thing to do at this period of time without other choices. With many businesses closed, it is just that impossible for being that productive. Although you might want to devote more time to getting the work done or seeking higher profits, your business partners and clients are just not ready.
So here you are, you are probably on a train to home, bored and tired. You don’t want to buy anything that the train attendants are selling. And you don’t even want to talk to the person sitting next to you, although the two of you are feeling exactly the same.
You know it from the bottom of your heart:
It is going to be a boring week full of conversations that you do not even want to start with all sorts of strange family members.
Is there shared sentiment across cultures?
It seems like shared sentiment across cultures. For western countries, that awkwardness comes right around Christmas. There are just these uncles, aunts, and cousins that you do not want to talk to, because their conservations are boring, and their questions are sometimes offensive. They keep asking about your relationship status and your income level, showing no respects to people’s privacy.
And they insist they are doing the right thing for you: Hey, I am asking for your own good.
None of these conservations make sense. And in fact, you feel like they should never happen. While they are close siblings, your parents might be way better the one to initiate those conversations than those relatives who are asking these dumb questions.
It is not easy to generalize all family relatives into these stereotypes, while many blamed their inappropriate attitudes and conservations to their past life experiences and their inability to be more civilized. Perhaps one explanation to cover the reasons for these pointless conservations:
Everyone is just too bored, and they are forced to meet each other.
Do I really need these traditions?
People would have different views on traditions. It makes no sense that everyone has to eat dumpling on New Year’s Eve. And it makes no sense for people to try to stay up until the midnight on that day. The same goes to the CCTV hosted New Year’s Eve programs and all forms of other regional norms. When “it’s a tradition” becomes the only reason to do certain things, it is safe to assume that these norms are not that reasonable or particularly benefiting anyone.
However, in China, the majority is still bounded by these traditional norms. People perhaps want to escape from them, but it is just hard to do so.
They might face pressure from their families, friends, or strangers. They might want to disobey these traditions, but they are just not brave enough to take the first step.
It becomes a holiday version of prisoner’s dilemma.
With no one having the incentive to pick the cooperative option, everyone ends up in the infinite cycle of defection. They hurt each other, but they have no other choices. They are forced into such conversations because no other topics can be discussed. These– incomes and relationship status– have become the only topics that they can initiate.
How to survive the Chinese New Year?
After understanding these factors behind the struggles, we can easily find solutions.
If boredom is the root of all those issues, there is one way out: Find something to do in this week-long journey at home.
It could be grabbing a book, or playing a game. It is essential to find the tasks that could keep people occupied, and that will eliminate the chances to start those awkward conversations. If people try to start them, it is always possible to drag them into the games and get them to talk about something else.
If the week-long vacation is something inevitable, try spending it in the best way you can.
It might be true that you will need to step out of the work you love and the people you like for a while. But it is never too bad to discover something new within this week. Instead of wasting time with awkward social activities, it would be better to spend it as a way to take a look at the things that you pay little attention to, and a week of self-reflection and the time to set up future goals in the upcoming year.
You worked pretty hard in the past year. You certainly deserve a good vacation that could help you become a better person. So, be sure to spend your vacation in a way that can make you both comfortable and feel fruitful.
Featured photo credit to chinesenewyear.net