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2020 Chinese New Year is coming!

14Jan, 2020



Every year it’s important to look at the calendar to plan for first quarter shipments as the Chinese New Year celebrations shut down the factories and shipments coming from China. This year, we’re not only going to talk about the logistics side of Chinese New Year, but we’ll also touch a bit on the cultural aspects of the celebration in this Year of the Rat which begin on January 25th and lasts until February 8th!

Chinese New Year causes almost a complete shut down as people leave work to celebrate this auspicious time of year with family and friends. Almost all of the taboos surrounding the holiday are designed to prevent people from going to work:

  • Don’t clean (you can sweep out good luck!)
  • Don’t demand debt repayment
  • No knives or needles (intentionally to prevent so-called “woman’s work” from being done during the new year)
  • Don’t break things
  • Don’t speak negative words.

Because of the closures in factories, there’s a bump in imports from China before the new year starts. Unfortunately, with the current trade tensions between the US and China, that bump is far smaller this year. Those tensions impacted US importers in 2019 as many front loaded inventory to be prepared for tariff escalations, leaving little left to move once the calendar turned over to 2020.

The Rat is the first sign of the zodiac, based on the legend of the Jade Emperor the animals representing each sign were invited to a banquet and the Rat climbed on top of the ox to hitch a ride. When the Ox arrived at the banquet, the Rat jumped down from the back of the Ox and crossed the finish line first, leaving the Ox second and eventually the rest of the animals to fill in the rest of the 12 signs. As the Rat is the first sign of the cycle the governing time of the sign is midnight and they represent a brand new day.

Though calling someone a rat is a pejorative in many social situations, rats in Chinese culture are a sign of wealth and abundance (likely because excess food waste draws real rats into areas). In the Chinese zodiac Rats are often industrious, likable, social, sensitive, organized, clever and excellent team players. People born in the year of the Rat 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020 are best matched with those born in the year of the Ox, Dragon and Monkey and not well matched with Horses, Goats and Rabbits.

According to Chinese New Year.net, lucky things for Rats:

  • Colors: blue, gold, green
  • Numbers: 2, 3
  • Flowers: lily, African violet, valley lily
  • Directions of auspiciousness: southeast, northeast
  • Directions of wealth: southeast, east
  • Directions of love: west

Unlucky things are:

  • Colors: yellow, brown
  • Numbers: 5, 9

 




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