China welcomes Lunar New Year with colourful lantern shows, traditional dragon dances with molten iron and dazzling charcoal-spinning performances
- Cities across China are ushering in the Year of the Pig with lavish celebrations
- Spring Festival is a time for people to return to hometowns and be with families
- People gather for dinners, exchange red packets of money and light firecrackers
China is welcoming tomorrow’s Lunar New Year with stunning lanterns, traditional dragon dance shows, dazzling charcoal-spinning performances and big family dinners.
As the most revered holiday for China’s 1.3 billion people, the Spring Festival is a time for people to return to their hometowns to reunite with family and friends.
Cities across China are festooned with lanterns and bright decorations to mark the holiday, which is also celebrated in Vietnam and by ethnic Chinese communities around Asia and around the world.
An aerial view of the illuminated city wall and two dragon shaped colored lanterns at a public square in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The lantern show would last till March 10
In Shandong province’s Tai’erzhuang district, a traditional dragon dance was held, where performers dance amid molten iron tossed into the air, creating a dazzling spectacle
Chinese folk artists perform a fire dragon dance during a temple fair in Tianjian, China
Tourist guides wearing pig hats hold Chinese knots and red lanterns to send New Year greetings to tourists at Yangzhou Slender West Lake scenic area in Jiangsu province
A traditional charcoal-spinning performance took place in the northern city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province last Friday. The performance, known as ‘Fenghuoliuxing’, or ‘Wind and Fire meteor’, sees fire dancers twirling long ropes with burning charcoals tied to each end to create a grand display.
The spinning charcoals, which creates large sparks, symbolises prosperity and good luck in Chinese culture.
Elsewhere in Sichuan, Kunming and Xi’an and Jinan, colourful lantern shows light up the night sky, posing a feast for the eyes.
A charcoal-spinning performance took place in the northern city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province last Friday. The performance is also known as Fenghuoliuxing, or ‘Wind and Fire meteor’
Visitors walk through a tunnel decorated with lanterns to celebrate the new year in Xi’an
The spinning charcoals, which creates large sparks, symbolises prosperity and good luck
This year’s Chinese New Year begins tomorrow and end with the Lantern Festival on Feb 19
In Shandong province’s Tai’erzhuang district, a traditional dragon dance was held, where performers dance amid molten iron tossed into the air, creating a dazzling spectacle of fireworks.
This year’s Chinese New Year officially begins on February 5 and end with the Lantern Festival on February 19.
Tomorrow would mark the start of the Year of the Pig in the 12-year Chinese astrological cycle, waving farewell to the Year of the Dog.
On the festival’s eve, people gather for reunion dinners, give red packets of pocket money to youngsters, light firecrackers at midnight and gather to watch the Chinese Near Year Gala aired by state broadcaster CCTV.
A man carrying a child walks by Chinese Lunar New Year decorations on sale at a market in Yantai in east China’s Shandong province on Sunday
Children in costumes wait to perform in a traditional show in Nanjing, Jiangsu province
Folk artists perform a dragon dance to welcome Chinese New Year in Nanjing on Saturday
Performers rehearse a show of an re-enactment of the Qing Dynasty at the Temple of Earth in Ditan Park in Beijing on Monday
The two weeks before and after the Lunar New Year is the busiest time on Chinese roads as millions of people leave cities to go back to their rural homes – then return to work afterwards.
The travel rush, also known as ‘chun yun’ in Chinese, is the largest annual human migration in the world.
This year, the epic holiday travel rush started on January 21 and is expected to last 40 days until March 1.
A total of 2.99 billion trips would be made by the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens during the period by car, train, bus and air, according to China Central Television Station.
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Lunar New Year celebration comes in various forms.
Chinese people wear red jackets and jumpers to the streets, buy red lanterns and paper-cuttings to decorate their homes and even prepare red steamed buns to be eaten during family reunions.
Around China, family get together to eat different types of dumplings, such as savoury ‘jiao zi’ and sweet ‘tang tuan’ as a way to pray for family unity and happiness.
Red envelopes containing cash are also given out to children by their families to wish them a happy New Year.
Women wearing traditional Chinese costumes prepare to take a photo at a park ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing on Saturday
The Chinese New Year’s Gala, one of the most popular way of celebration, is the most-watched television programme in the world.
The four-hour-long marathon show gathers the most popular singers, dancers, comedians and magicians in the country from the previous year and has been the Spring Festival tradition in China since its first edition in 1983.
According to latest statistics, 690 million Chinese people around the world tuned in to watch the gala live in 2016. Over one billion people watched the show in total that year.
The festivities usually last for 16 days in China, from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival, or the 15th day of the New Year, when people go out to see colourful lanterns.
The zodiac animal for 2019 is the pig.
In recent years those born in the year of the pig have been born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and now 2019.