USHERING IN THE NEW YEAR
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.
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.
One traditional activity of this annual folk exhibition in Shanghai involves having calligraphers write the Chinese character "fu" (happiness) for visitors to take home.
Giving red packets containing money to elders and children is a Chinese New Year custom, but some people consider it a financial burden.
As 2016 is, according to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of the Monkey, the animal can be found in various forms around the city.