China's Brief Broomance Puts Coronavirus Boredom in Relief

By Bryan Grogan, February 13, 2020

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The Chinese internet was swept up (pun intended) in a flurry of broom pictures on Tuesday as bored netizens posted pictures online of their attempts to balance a variety of different brooms, brushes, eggs, knives and even zongzi

Known to take place every year, the broom challenge returned in 2020, hitting China in a big way. The craze was reignited after a tweet went viral which stated “NASA said today was the only day broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull.” 

The craze quickly spread to China, with the Weibo hashtag #nasa立扫把挑战# (NASA standing broom challenge) catching fire online. Currently, that hashtag has been read over 1.23 billion times. NASA was quick to point out, however, that “There’s no special gravity that only affects brooms, but the Moon’s gravity creates tides on Earth.” That didn’t stop users in China from getting caught up in the sensation, as social media sites like Weibo and WeChat were awash with images of brooms standing upright, while creative netizens also challenged themselves to balance jeans, condoms, traffic cones (easy) and more. 

See some of the more humorous images below: 


Image via @新京报评论/Weibo


Image via @姚开元/Weibo


Image via @ZL耶roy/Weibo


Image via @杜蕾斯官方微博/Weibo


Image via @_未至拾捌/Weibo


Image via @姑娘三月的日记掉了/Weibo


Image via @九层霜/Weibo

As the dust settles on the viral broom challenge, the speed at which it overtook the Chinese internet appears to be yet another case of extreme boredom coupled with a rapidly circulating online topic. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), Chinese netizens have taken to making viral videos and memes to combat the boredom of being stuck indoors

[Cover image via @OKL工作室/Weibo]

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