Today marks the start of the Year of the Pig as Chinese New Year celebrations begin across the globe.

But in this new digital age, how citizens in China celebrate the Lunar New Year has changed dramatically, bringing the ancient tradition into the modern age.

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular chat platform, has compiled a collection of Chinese New Year 2019 greetings, wishes and stickers to send season’s greetings to family across the world, doing away with the need to send a physical card.

You can download WhatsApp Stickers for free on the Android Play Store that prominently features the pig character as it represents the main animal in the Chinese Zodiac Sign for 2019.

IBM’s new blockchain-powered e-BL, designed to help companies reduce their document processing times, launched in conjunction with this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.

The blockchain’s trial, 28 tons of mandarin oranges were shipped to China ahead of the celebrations. Mandarins are a symbol of prosperity, the fruits are often eaten and exchanged as greeting gifts during the festive period.

Over at Google, the company launched an interactive Lunar New Year game teaching you how to make shadow puppets for Chinese New Year using interactive AI technology.

Shadow puppetry has been used as a way of storytelling in Chinese for thousands of years combining legends, tradition, music, art and craftsmanship.

The browser-based game called Shadow Art allows you to use your hands to form one of the 12 zodiac animals from the lunar cycle. You simply pick an animal and follow the example shown to you on screen.

You only have 20 seconds to form each animal and the goal is to get through the full lunar cycle as quickly as you can.

The new game is available in 11 different languages, including English, Chinese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese, so people across the globe can get involved.

Gaming platform Steam has even launched its own Lunar New Year sale. To celebrate the start of the year of the pig, Valve is throwing a huge sale with deals on Chinese-developed games, a voucher you can use on any games you like, and steep discounts on a bunch of other games too.

Users can get 75 per cent off Far Cry 5 and Xcom 2, and Valve is also highlighting games from Chinese developers on the sale front page as well as a bunch of co-op games for players to enjoy.

There is also the rewards booth, which gifts you a red envelope of tokens, with the total dependent on how much money you’ve spent on Steam over the years.

You can then spend the tokens on gewgaws for your Steam Profile or Steam Chat — or you can blow 15,000 tokens on a £5 discount towards your next purchase.

But the technological takeover in China has changed Chinese New Year in many other more subtle ways. The ease of ordering takeaway food through smartphones is one of many ways technology is changing how Chinese people celebrate the holiday.

There are many apps available across mobile platforms that allow users to place their favourite Chinese takeaway order at the tip of their finger, eliminating the need for a lengthy phone conversation of a trip to the shop itself.

The rise of social media allows us to connect with those celebrating the brand new year across the globe without the need for letters and phone calls. Video conferencing systems allows us to connect instantly and send our well-wishes to those not physically present.

Above all of this, the astronomical rise of smartphones and tablets allows us to connect to the internet with ease. We have a whole world of knowledge at our fingertips ready to answer all of our burning Chinese New Year questions.

These changes have been embraced by all generations, and not just with those raised with gadgetry that has become so common over the past 25 years with people of all backgrounds getting to grips with modern technology

The technological age is with us – even in the Year of the Pig.

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