The Lunar New Year is China’s biggest holiday. Around the world, families are coming together to celebrate.
BEIJING (China) — Millions of people around the world are celebrating the start of the Lunar New Year.The spring festival is typically spent feasting and visiting temples with friends and family, and not unlike the western New Year’s celebration that takes place on January 1, many cities around the world rang in the Lunar New Year with awe-inspiring fireworks and light shows.
This Lunar New Year marks the beginning of The Year of the Monkey. The Chinese calendar operates on a rotating zodiac of 12 animals, and each year is assigned a new animal. Last year was the Year of the Goat and this year is the Year of the Monkey. According to tradition, people born in the Year of the Monkey are considered curious, witty, strong-willed and cunning.
The themes of the festival, including reunion, luck, peace, affluence, good health and safety, are all ideals that Chinese people have held for thousands of years, said Feng Jicai, a famous writer and president of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association.
In order to be with families at the most important festival of the year, Chinese people travel long distances to go back home, as 2.9 billion trips are expected to be made during this holiday season.
However faraway and inconvenient — even settling with a standing ticket for a 20-hour-plus trip — Chinese people would not be willing to miss the annual family reunion.
They go home, bring gifts, hand out red envelopes to seniors and children, and offer their best wishes to each other for a good year.
The Spring Festival traditionally is the most important time of the year for family reunion, but as China has become prosperous, an increasing number of wealthy Chinese are opting to travel abroad, which translates into big business for global retailers.
In the Western world, the traditional shopping season usually lasts a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas holidays. But in recent years, Chinese consumers have managed to add another month to it with the celebration of the Spring Festival, which is as big a deal as Christmas to U.S. malls.
The Chinese government estimates that 2.91 billion trips of all kinds will be taken over the Chinese Lunar New Year’s 40-day travel season, in what is thought to be the largest yearly movement of people in the world.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, Chinese tourists undertook more than 120 million visits overseas in 2015, many of which helped support growth in the countries of destination.
Below are just a few photos that managed to capture the beauty of the Year of the Monkey celebrations: