USH­ER­ING IN THE NEW YEAR

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

Chi­nese New Year is with­out doubt the most im­por­tant oc­ca­sion in the year for most peo­ple in China. Such is its im­por­tance that mil­lions of Chi­nese peo­ple from all over the coun­try willingly en­dure the hard­ships suf­fered dur­ing the long jour­ney back to their homes. The lucky peo­ple who are able to se­cure air tick­ets dur­ing this pe­riod get away just with huge crowds at the air­ports. Those who can only af­ford to take a train or ride their mo­tor­cy­cles back to their homes in the more re­mote re­gions of China have to en­dure days of trav­el­ing be­fore they get to see their loved ones. But ask any one of them why they go through this hard­ship and you’re most likely to get this an­swer: fam­ily.

The most sig­nif­i­cant as­pect of the Spring Fes­ti­val is not sim­ply about cel­e­brat­ing the start of a new year ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Zodiac. Rather, it is a time when fam­i­lies unite un­der one roof to eat, drink and be merry.

This win­ter may be China’s cold­est in 30 years, but one can rest as­sured that fa­mil­ial bonds, cel­e­bra­tory toasts and sump­tu­ous home-cooked food dur­ing this fes­tive pe­riod will no doubt pro­vide some much needed warmth.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY, PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The an­nual lan­tern fes­ti­val at Yuyuan Gar­den will last for 31 days start­ing from Fe­bru­ary 1. The cen­ter piece of this year's event is the leg­endary Mon­key King and his Flower and Fruit Moun­tain.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

One tra­di­tional ac­tiv­ity of this an­nual folk ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai in­volves hav­ing cal­lig­ra­phers write the Chi­nese char­ac­ter "fu" (hap­pi­ness) for vis­i­tors to take home.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Giv­ing red pack­ets con­tain­ing money to el­ders and chil­dren is a Chi­nese New Year cus­tom, but some peo­ple con­sider it a fi­nan­cial bur­den.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

As 2016 is, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Zodiac, the Year of the Mon­key, the an­i­mal can be found in var­i­ous forms around the city.

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