Tuesday, February 09, 2010

China prepares for the year of the Tiger

Go to any supermarket or along any street and one cannot fail to spot signs and billboards welcoming in the Chinese new year. The festive period is marked by the setting off of fireworks and hanging of lanterns and other decorations. It is also a time of mass migration when family members come together and feast. Airports are crowded and roads are filled with cars. Markets are also busy with traders selling soft toys of stuffed tigers, cakes, snacks and a plethora of other things. It will all climax on the 14th of February with fireworks displays and much merriment before people begin heading home once again. The spring festival is perhaps the most important date in the Chinese calendar, and this year is a little different in that it falls on Valentine's Day. The last meeting of these two festivals happened in 1953 which was 57 years ago. The next time this will occur will be in 2048. 

During the upcoming festival people often spend money to buy presents, decorations, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts with popular themes of "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children are expected to greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and will receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is seen as a way to reconcile and forget all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. For some it will be a hectic and stressful two weeks!

tvnewswatch, Kunming, Yunnan, China

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