Riot of colour to wel­come Year of Rooster

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

TOKYO: The Chi­nese Spring Fes­ti­val, the most im­por­tant tra­di­tional fes­ti­val for Chi­nese so­ci­ety, has been cel­e­brated around the world.

The Spring Fes­ti­val is cel­e­brated at the turn of the tra­di­tional lu­niso­lar Chi­nese cal­en­dar.

Cel­e­bra­tions tra­di­tion­ally run from the evening pre­ced­ing the first day, to the Lan­tern Fes­ti­val on the 15th day of the first cal­en­dar month.

This year, the first day of the Chi­nese lu­nar new year fell on Jan­uary 28, ini­ti­at­ing the Year of the Rooster, based on the Chi­nese zo­diac.

It as­signs an an­i­mal to each year of a 12-year cy­cle, be­gin­ning with rat and con­tin­u­ing through ox, tiger, rab­bit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, mon­key, rooster, dog and fi­nally end­ing with pig.

Yesterday, the first day of the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year, Chi­nese headed to tem­ples and fairs, not only in China, but across the globe, to wish for an aus­pi­cious start to the Lu­nar New Year.

Thou­sands gath­ered at Bei­jing’s ma­jor tem­ples on the first day of the Year of the Rooster. Wear­ing heavy win­ter coats, they lit in­cense sticks and bowed as they prayed for good for­tune and health. As many as 80 000 peo­ple were ex­pected at the Lama Tem­ple in cen­tral Bei­jing, state tele­vi­sion re­ported.

Bei­jing’s sprawl­ing spring fes­ti­val tem­ple fair opened at Di­tan Park, where empty tree branches were fes­tooned with red lanterns, and where tra­di­tional goods and foods were for sale.

Other New Year’s tra­di­tions in­clude the eat­ing of dumplings in north­ern China and the light­ing of fire­works.

Bei­jing’s gov­ern­ment called on Com­mu­nist Party cadres and gov­ern­ment staff not to set off fire­crack­ers ow­ing to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, but local me­dia re­ported air pol­lu­tion lev­els in Bei­jing and sev­eral other cities still shot up on Fri­day night and early yesterday morn­ing.

Eth­nic Chi­nese and oth­ers around the world also marked the hol­i­day with cel­e­bra­tions and vis­its to tem­ples.

Large crowds gath­ered in Hong Kong and Malaysia as the hol­i­day be­gan. In Rio de Janeiro, crowds watched a dragon dance and a per­for­mance of tai chi in front of a pic­ture of Rio’s fa­mous Christ the Re­deemer statue.

Chi­na­town in Yoko­hama, teh capital city of east­ern Ja­pan’s Kana­gawa pre­fec­ture, was packed with vis­i­tors.

Red lanterns and flags lined the Chi­nese-styled build­ings as did red and gold ban­ners with the themes hap­pi­ness, wealth and good luck.

Per­form­ers on stilts per­form on stage at the Long­tan park, Bei­jing, as the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year, which wel­comes the Year of the Rooster, is cel­e­brated in Bei­jing, China.

PIC­TURES: REUTERS

A per­former in tra­di­tional cos­tume waits for her turn to go on stage at Long­tan park as the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year.

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