Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Where to Spend the Chinese New Year in China



Where to Spend the Chinese New Year in China

Otherwise known as the Spring Festival in China, the Chinese New Year takes place at the end of January or beginning of February, depending on when the lunar calendar ends that year. The Spring Festival is one of the biggest events in the Chinese calendar and holds many customs and traditions that are carried out all over the country; here is a guide to the Chinese New Year and where best to spend it, should you be lucky enough to get to visit the country during the festivities.

The history

The Spring Festival is the longest event in the Chinese calendar, running for 15 days between the last day of the lunar calendar until the 15th of its first new month. Otherwise known as the Lantern Festival, it traditionally acts as an honour to the country's deities and ancestors.

A number of traditions are still carried out throughout the festival, including the giving of red envelopes to children by the elderly and married couples containing money, which are said to ward off evil for that child.

Beijing

The country's capital is one of the best places in the world to spend the Chinese holiday. Dragon and lion dances are performed throughout the city and people come together to feast on traditional cuisine. The Temple Fair also occurs in Beijing, when the city's temples and parks open their gates to carnivals and festivities.

Hong Kong

The fireworks during the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong are world renowned and celebrate a time for family; whilst many local families live apart due to work commitments, the Spring Festival brings them together in one huge celebration. Victoria Harbour usually provides the best display with one long, loud round of fireworks.

Shanghai

The Lantern Festival is the last day of the festivities and is best celebrated in Shanghai, where an endless view of coloured lanterns line the city accompanied by dancing, music and tasty treats. There is plenty of street food to enjoy, from grilled spicy squid to tangyuan - a traditional sweet of sticky sweet balls of rice flour.

The Great Wall of China

The country's most iconic landmark is always a popular destination during the Spring Festival and is often busy with visitors to China, as well as locals. There are many ways of getting to the Great Wall, and a number of touring operators include this trip as a part of their Chinese New Year tours, but there are also direct buses and trains to the prominent landmark.

This article was written by Thom Sanders, on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who are famed for their holidays to China. Guests get the chance to see a range of famous landmarks during their Great Wall of China tours.

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