02/03/2011, 00.00
ASIA
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Fireworks and hopes for the Year of the Rabbit

According to astrologers it will be a year of prosperity and success, a good year to get married and start new relationships. At least 700 million people in China have travelled home; 31 million in South Korea. In Pyongyang, Kim Jong-il has taken part in a patriotic concert. Taiwan celebrates the beginning of the second centenary of the Republic of China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The start of the Year of the Rabbit was celebrated in the Far East and all over the world where there are Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Singaporean, Burmese communities. From Sydney to San Francisco communities organized fireworks, lion dances and family feasts.

The celebration of the Lunar New Year is deeply felt by the peoples of the Far East. They focus their life’s hopes in it: fireworks chase away evil spirits from the year that begins, dance brings good luck to trade and work: the family feast symbolizes harmony and peace.

The Year of the Rabbit is seen as a period of prosperity and success. According to Hong Kong astrologers it is also a good year to get married, have children and open up new relationships.

In general, the hopeful predictions speak of this year as a peaceful year, less violent than the recently concluded Year of the Tiger, though the flashes of violence in the Middle East do not bode well.

Despite adversity, everyone is striving to ensure the best for the year ahead. The cold weather and snow that blocked transport in recent weeks in China has not stopped more than 700 million people who have travelled to reach their villages and their families to celebrate the New Year. In this great exodus, at least 250 million migrant workers return home (the only time throughout the year) bringing gifts and money to their families.

President Hu Jintao visited Hebei, a region suffering from drought, promising investment in more advanced techniques to ensure the cereal harvest next summer. Premier Jiabao We went to visit poor areas in Anhui (central China), promising aid and comfort to the farmers and migrants. Filmed by state television and photographers, Wen also tried his hand in preparing food for the New Year banquet.

In Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou said that he wished his compatriots a year of prosperity, which can also help the underprivileged members of society. Since 2011 marks the centenary of the founding of the Republic of China (Sun Yat Sen), he also hoped that this year will put the foundations for another century of progress for the country.

In South Korea, at least 31 million people have set out to return to their villages of origin or to go on holiday. In the North, according to the state agency, the leader Kim Jong-il attended a concert that exalts "heroic and indomitable spirit" of the army and the North Korean people.

It must be said that the rabbit in the Chinese world is considered a pet and affectionate animal. These days many children received a small rabbit to care for and play with. In Vietnam, according to the Chinese zodiac, instead of the rabbit, the Year of the Cat is celebrated.

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