Chinese around world prepare to ring in Lunar New Year

Updated 2018-02-13 13:48:01 Xinhua

Woof, woof, the dog is barking at the door. The Chinese Year of Dog begins on February 16.

The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is not only the most important festival in China, but also celebrated worldwide by people who are interested in Chinese culture.[Special coverage]

CELEBRATING AROUND THE WORLD

As one of the most influential festivals in the world, Chinese New Year celebrations will be held more than 400 cities in more than 130 countries and regions, according to the State Council Information Office.

In some countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Suriname, the Chinese New Year has become a statutory holiday.

Events such as galas, dragon and lion dance performances, exhibitions, and temple fairs are being held in towns and cities across the world.

In previous years, heads of state and government and leaders of international organizations have delivered their best wishes for the Chinese New Year.

Celebrations last for two weeks or more. One of the first to open was the "New Era, New Journey" Spring Festival Gala on Feb. 7 at Indigo O2 in London, which was organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association United Kingdom (CSSAUK) and supported by the Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom.

At the London Confucius Institute at SOAS University of London, international students played traditional instruments like bamboo flutes, sang folk songs from minority groups and told classic stories to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The grand celebrations for the 2017 Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square in the center of London attracted more than 700,000 visitors from various countries. The jubilant scene will be held again this year.

Britain, the United States, France, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hungary have issued commemorative stamps and coins with Chinese New Year elements.

EAST OR WEST, HAPPINESS IS BEST

How do Chinese celebrate the New Year? There are various answers from people in different regions.

Traditionally Chinese New Year celebrations begin on the eve of the New Year and end on the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the first calendar month.

In China, there is a week-long public holiday, during which family gatherings, meeting friends, and attending banquets are common activities.

New trends are emerging as a growing number of Chinese choose to travel domestically or internationally instead of returning to their hometowns for the holiday.

A report released by the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip said an estimated 6.5 million Chinese will travel abroad during 2018 Spring Festival holiday, which is equivalent to the same period in 2017.

People from more than 200 Chinese cities have booked tours to over 700 cities in 68 countries and regions on Ctrip, a popular online travel agency based in Shanghai.

Top destinations include Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and Nordic countries, according to the report.

The China National Tourism Administration said that 385 million trips, mostly domestic, are expected to be made during the Spring Festival 2018, up 12 percent year on year. Tourism revenue during the holiday will increase to 476 billion yuan (76 billion U.S. dollars), a rise of 12.5 percent from the previous year.

OLD TRADITIONS, NEW TECHNOLOGY

Spring Festival customs vary across different regions, but some general changes have taken place in recent years.

First of all, China's high-speed trains have brought huge changes to the annual Spring Festival travel rush, known as the "Chunyun."

Hundreds of millions of people travel long distances to return home for family gatherings during the holiday. Journeys that previously took several days now take just hours.

Thanks to high-speed trains and expanded railway networks, the perceived distance between migrant workers and their hometowns has been reduced.

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