02/15/2018, 14.19
CHINA

Chinese New Year to usher in the Year of the Dog

Migrants go home making up to 2.98 billion trips by train, bus, or motorcycle. Some 380 million travellers are expected with Thailand and Malaysia as the favourite foreign destinations. Many are hoping for a heavy red envelope. Fireworks have been banned.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese New Year starts at midnight tonight, and will be celebrated in many countries in the Far East.

The new year will usher in the Earth Dog Year. According to the traditional horoscopes, it will be a year of a lot of work, but few results, which will come instead next year.

For hundreds of millions of Chinese, the first task will be going home after a year of work. Many migrants working in the big cities have spent months preparing their holidays with the family.

The lucky ones were able to get tickets on superfast trains, whose seats were booked in just a few hours.

For others, it is buses or motorbikes that can take up to ten hours or almost an entire day to travel to remote villages in Hunan, Guangxi or Guangdong.

An estimated 2.98 billion trips will be made during New Year's holidays.

As one of the few holiday periods in China's labour market, at least 380 million travellers are expected to visit destinations such as Hainan Island, Beijing, and the cities in the Northeast. Outside the country, the most popular destinations are Thailand and Myanmar.

In a message to the nation, President Xi Jinping asked all the people to "work hard". "There will be difficulties in our endeavor, but battling them will also purify our souls and strengthen our faith," Xi said.

Some people are fighting against the commodification of Chinese New Year, pushing for a return to the ancient cultural traditions such as preparing special foods, organising calligraphy exhibits, cleaning the kitchen, following superstitions and experiencing religious feelings.

Many others are only worried about getting a “hóng bāo", a red envelope with new money.

According to a survey of social media, the most generous are the people of Fujian, especially the city of Putian, where red envelopes can contain up to 12,000 yuan (almost US$ 1,900).

However, the authorities have dealt a blow to another old tradition, fireworks. In order to protect air quality, they have been banned.

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