I arrived in Shanghai yesterday on Saturday 20th January 2017 to attend the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) Shanghai Australia Day Roast 2017, my second Aussie celebration coming from the AustCham Hong Kong Australian Day Lunch at the Island Shangri-La on Friday.
The afternoon in Shanghai at the Kadadu Restaurant was fantastic with the local expat community coming together to mark Australia’s national day with an Aussie BBQ and Pavlova competition.
Being winter in China, everyone was rugged up with day temperatures around 5 degrees, unlike Australia’s sweltering summer of up to 40 degrees.
The band played Australian classics and you could feel the patriotism during Waltzing Matilda. There was also a showcase of product and services including some Aussie produce as well as a good old meat raffle and the silent auction.
China’s travel exodus for the seven-day holiday
Today (Sunday) is a work day in China, with staff heading into offices. The Lunar calendar determines the date of Chinese New Year and for 2017 falls a bit earlier next Saturday 28th January. Being a weekend, there is a holiday in lieu, plus the three public holidays, the weekend and “borrowing” from working today will essentially provide seven consecutive days off!
This would never happen in Australia or many other countries with the weekend being sacrosanct and just extra leave being taken to extend the holiday break!
Chinese New Year is a quiet time in Chinese cities with a mass exodus of people returning home to families, many in the country, creating a huge travel exodus. Most of the shops and restaurants will be closed although tourist attractions will still be open. This Friday evening, new years eve, is family time and I am fortunate to be staying with locals, looking forward to my first time to experience on the ground
Chinese New Year in Sydney
My hometown of Sydney holds the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside China. There is a range of exciting initiatives being planned around the harbour, city and suburbs with the Sydney Opera House already lit up in red.
With the celebrations continuing on until February 12, am looking forward to being back to enjoy a range of functions and events with Australia China Business Council (ACBC), Hong Kong Trade and Development Corporation (HKTDC) during the year of The Rooster.
Let’s all Celebrate
For me, having grown up in Melbourne the start of the party season is the first Tuesday in November with the Melbourne Cup a great opportunity to get together with friends and business colleagues to celebrate the race that stops the nation!
Our party season generally ends with Australia Day, however now as an Aus-China Consultant, the celebrations continue to mid-February! From Christmas to the western New Years even on 31st December and Chinese New Year these celebrations provides wonderful opportunities to build relationships and enjoy the richness of our multicultural society.
Stacey Martin is the Founder of Advisors Community network for professionals with internationally connected clients. She has been in Hong Kong on behalf of HKTDC leading the 2017 Australian delegation to the Asian Financial Forum, part of International Finance Week. If you are interested in being part of the 2018 mission, including a range of tailored networking events and business introductions you can express your interest here.