Is Chinese New Year in need of a revival? The experts seem to think so.
Here’s the reason, taken from a Xinhua News article titled “Protect Chinese New Year” becomes a common idea in Chinese society:
This suggested idea of “Protect Chinese New Year” came about because these years Gao Youpeng [a professor at Henan University] felt “a definite threat to the safety of China’s traditional culture.” During the past 20-some years, Gao Youpeng conducted empirical surveys of traditional culture and regrettably found that young people — entranced with the internet and video games — increasingly followed Western civilization, craved Western holidays, but were more indifferent and lacked understanding of their own traditional holidays and culture.
This crisis is nothing new. After all, didn’t the government completely forget Chinese New Year’s Eve last month — the most important day of the year — when they left it out of the official national holidays? It certainly highlights China’s stubborn fascination with all things foreign.
Yet this new push to “protect Chinese New Year” also suggests a new search for a national identity. China’s traditional culture was all but demolished during the bulldozer run of the cultural revolution. Now people want to embrace those traditional cultural activities and customs that make China…well…China.
I think this means one thing: the “cache” of foreign brands, companies and products in China won’t last forever. Its days are numbered. Perhaps now we can still get away with waving foreignness in the face of the Chinese as a symbol of all that is exclusive, elegant and well-engineered. But sooner or later China will look closer to home and discover the beauty within.
In the meantime, it’s up to us to change the way we communicate with China. If Chinese people are putting more of a premium on their own culture, shouldn’t we do the same in how we deal with them? Think about your marketing materials, corporate identity or even how you interact with people in China — and how you can integrate a little Chinese culture into your approach.