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Pet Travel during the Chinese New Year

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Caitlin Moore

Much of the Western world celebrates New Year's Day on Jan. 1, but in China the holiday arrives a little later (this year it's Feb. 3) and covers the span of several days. It's the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, and it's celebrated by Chinese citizens all around the globe with feasts, family visits and various happy traditions.

In terms of pet travel, the Chinese New Year is something to be aware of because many businesses and customs offices in China and a few surrounding places (including Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong) shut down during this time. Here at PetRelocation.com, we're sure not to ship any pets during the holiday week, and in fact we give ourselves a buffer on either end of this period in order to make sure our clients don't encounter any troubles.

shih tzus chinese new year

This year, we won't be shipping any pets into this region from Feb. 1 to Feb. 9, which affected the schedules of about five of our clients. Once again, this shows that there are many reasons to start the pet move process well in advance. You never know if flight reservations, vaccination schedules or customs communications might be affected by a particular country's traditions or holidays, so give yourself plenty of time to sort everything out.

So there's another important pet travel tip: Whether it's Chinese New Year or August in Italy (when much of the country slows down for vacation), you never know what lies ahead. Make time for thorough pet shipping research, and always plan carefully.

chinese dragonDon't know much about Chinese New Year? Here are a few fun facts:
 
-Chinese New Year begins on a different day each year because it's calculated according to astronomical measurements. The dates are figured using science and math rather than religion or mythology.

-On New Year's Eve, it's traditional to hold a huge feast featuring "lucky" dishes like noodles, fish, dumplings, mandarin oranges and various sweets.

-Each year is named after one of 12 different Chinese animals, and 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit.

-Instead of celebrating individual birthdays, Chinese citizens track their age based on the animal of the year they were born.

-Celebratory customs include cleaning the house to rid it of lingering ill fortune, decorating with red papercuts (sometimes called "window flowers"), feasting and setting off firecrackers.

-The Chinese New Year lasts 15 days, each with a different theme, and ends with a Lantern Festival.


red lanterns
 

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy year!
 


(Photos by istolethetv, p_a_h and Laineys Repertoire via Flickr)

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