Today is Chu Yi (初一), the first day of the lunar new year on the Chinese calendar. For those of you keeping track, it marks the beginning of the Year of the Pig. It’s “my” year, which means I’m either 12, 24, 48, 60, 72, or 84. I’ll let you guess which it is!
All across China, people are making their way, if possible, back to their hometowns, in what is often billed as the world’s largest human migration. Everyone, from migrant workers to young professionals to university students, is on the move—in most cases returning to small towns and villages in the countryside to visit their families.
And they do not return empty-handed. Since gift-giving is such an important part of New Year celebrations, and is also a primary way of expressing love in Chinese culture, the travelers are laden down with gifts of all sizes and shapes.
When the holiday-making comes to an end, and the workers, yuppies, and students head back to the cities, they will be taking with them, not only memories, but special gifts that will remind them of home.
Film director Jia Zhangke teamed up with Apple (yes, it is a marketing effort for the iPhone XS) to produce a short film, titled The Bucket, about a young man whose mother sends him back to the city with a very heavy bucket. It’s a gorgeous and sweet film, and you’ll need to watch the video to find out what is in the bucket! (email readers, click here to watch the film)
What food or gift does your mom send home with you after the holidays (whichever ones you celebrate)?
(Note: this post first appeared at ChinaSource.)