Monday marked the first day of the Chinese new year. Each successive year in the Chinese calendar is symbolised by one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. This year belongs to the Monkey. While officially China uses the Gregorian calendar like most of the world, the traditional new year remains culturally significant, with Chinese communities around the world celebrating this day.

In the video above UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon sends New Year Greetings and explains the monkey aspect, even referring to himself as a monkey.

A large Chinese presence globally means the new year is celebrated all over the world with fireworks and noise, essential parts of the celebrations, as these are believed to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead. In China the celebrations include a five hour long mega TV event called the "Spring Festival Gala", which began being screened by the national broadcaster CCTV in 1983.

Featuring songs, dances, comedy sketches and, this year, even a mini military parade, the show gets a lot of flak each year. Reporting on the unpopularity of the TV event, CNN said, "This year, the criticism was so overwhelming that CCTV's official Weibo account temporarily shut the comment section while live-tweeting the show."

Amongst other performances, this year the show included a performance by 540 dancing robots, ending with drones showering the robots with glitter.


With around 900 million viewers watching last year's TV event, the show is reportedly bigger than the Super Bowl.

Described by some as "a marathon session of Communist Party slogans", the performances had titles like "Harmonious of Nature and Mankind", "Four Comprehensives", "Core Socialist Values" and "Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China," amongst others.

Below is the video of the Harmonious of Nature and Mankind (whatever that title means).


The event has even been dubbed "craptacular" by some in China, according to this blog.

"The most famous craptacular in China is the nationally televised Chinese New Year Party (春节联欢晚会). Pretty much every Chinese person I talk to agrees that it gets worse every year, ever reaching new depths of raw bore-power. Yet most Chinese households tune in faithfully every year."