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