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.
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.