Chinese New Year: Tradition in Change

Chinese New Year: Tradition in Change

Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, has always been a time of joy and happiness, and a time of family reunion, fine cuisine, new clothes, a sleepless night with carnivals. Yet something has been changing in all these. When the Spring Festival comes, millions of people are going home to join their family, and million of others want to go sightseeing on the holiday.

It is reported that 6 million people travel by air during the festival, with a ridership of 1.45 billion for buses, 30 million by water and 128 million by railway.

For those who want to go out, getting the tickets used to be a big headache. Today, the headache remain, but things are much better. Railway passengers today can buy any tickets at any sales windows at railway stations, thanks to a nationwide computer sales network. There would be no more "sorry, you've taken the wrong line."

And of course, you could go to many websites for whatever tickets you want. It's only that sometimes the line is so busy that you just could not get hooked with the net.

Thanks to efforts by the railway authorities, trains are traveling almost twice faster than they were one or two years ago.

For the Chinese people, a big table of food in the house with a big family sitting around on the eve of the Spring Festival is what family reunion means. Yet, today more and more families are having their new year eve dinner in hotels. In Shanghai, one of China's largest cities, it is estimated that at least 100,000 residents had their dinner in hotels in the last couple of days. Jiaozi, or dumpling, is what turkey means for Westerners on the eve of Christmas. Yet even for those who choose to have their dinner at home, they seem to have abandoned the pure joy of making Jiaozi by themselves.

Huo Shaojie, a manager at Ruida Instant Food company, told the Beijing Evening News that their frozen Jiaozi sold extremely well during Spring Festival. Some products were even in shortage because of the strong demand. The manage attributed the situation to the fact that people are having too much entertainment today, so they don't have the time for making Jiaozi by themselves, which is usually time consuming.

Fireworks are another must on the eve of the Spring Festival. But most of the major cities have banned fireworks for safety and noise pollution concern.As a compromise, authorities in many cities have arranged for fireworks shows in public squares. In Beijing, hotels in the suburb have attracted many customers, because fireworks are allowed there.

An investigation by a Beijing polling company in 10 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, shows that more than 80 percent of the citizens said they support the banning of fireworks.

The first and most important thing to do on the first day of the Spring Festival is saying hello to elders in the families, relatives and friends. But today more and more people are using new media to send their blessing. In Beijing, the telephone bureau connected more than 2 million long-distance calls from 8:00 pm February 4 to the wee hours next morning.

In northeast China's Shenyang City, sending your blessing message on friends' pagers is a new fashion this year. The city of 4.8 million people is said to have more than 1 million pagers.

Apparently, sending cards in the post office is no more in vogue. A group of pupils in Beijing have in a public letter called for the use of more electronic cards on the Internet to save forest.

A new dress for everyone before the Spring Festival used to be a must task for housewives. This year, ladies in Beijing have a new fashion: wadded jackets in traditional Chinese style.

A new must on city dwellers' buying lists before the New Year is fresh flower. Officials at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in south China said they are sending 40 tons of flowers everyday to other cities.

from Beijing Review

In This Series



Web Link