The strange phenomenon before Chinese New Year

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With the Chinese New Year holidays coming up, we are sure you have seen queues forming at banks recently. However, have you seen the snaking queues suddenly appear on 4 February? For those of you who might dismiss it as being common – afterall, people must be withdrawing cash from the bank for the upcoming holiday, did you realise, they are not even queuing for that! Instead, they are queueing…to put money into their accounts?!

4 February, which is known as Li Chun in Chinese, is the boundary to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. As such, it is said that this timing is the most auspicious to ensure an abundance of wealth.  There are specific timings for the different zodiacs to deposit their money so as to get the best of this ‘luck’ and interestingly though, the trend came about only in the past 2 – 3 years, highly due to widely circulated new via social media such as Facebook and even on Whatsapp. With no base or tradition tied to it, it has created a peculiar scene that even overseas press have picked up on, terming it as “uniquely Singapore”.

Of course, whether or not your money would be kept in abundance for the entire year, we do not know. However, here are some of the ways people celebrate Li Chun worldwide:

China
Offerings to the gods and ceremonies are staged by farmers in certain villages, all in the bid to ensure a bountiful harvest and prosperous new year. This may be days long and will start on Li Chun. People may also eat special food on this day too, such as Chun Bing.

Japan
Rather than celebrate on the day of Li Chun itself, Japan celebrates it one day earlier, which is known as Setsubun – the divide between the seasons. The custom of throwing roasted soybeans, be it out the door, at a member of the family wearing a demon mask, or at the temple, the significance of it is to symbolically purify the home and drive away evil spirits of misfortune and ill health. There’s also the tradition of eating Makizushi, which is essentially a whole rolled, uncut sushi roll while facing a pre-determined direction – all the while without speaking. If one can do this, then it is said that their luck for the year would be good.

Other places
Said to be one of the days where the gravitational pull is the strongest, eggs are also said to be able to stand on their own the best too. In fact, some people have managed to get a whole entire tray of eggs standing – without any support!

What other fun stuffs have you heard about the dividing of seasons? Do share it with us!