China ushered in the Year of Snake, the first Lunar New Year in the 21st Century, amidst celebrations and festivities across the nation.
From Beijing to Shanghai in the central part, from Guangzhou in the south to Hohhot in the north, from Lhasa to Urumqi, people across China are celebrating the most cherished traditional festival of family reunion and carnival, known as the Spring Festival, with varieties of activities and plentiful of food.
The joyful moment reminds people of the remarkable achievements that the nation made in all social sectors in 2000, the Year of Dragon.
China has pulled most of its large state-owned enterprises out of the red; the overwhelming majority of poverty-stricken people had been helped to get out of poverty with the help of the central government and people from all walks of life; more people are driving private cars; an increasing number of youngsters are conveying festival greetings via theInternet.
As usual, most Chinese prefer staying at home watching TV programs while celebrating the new year. Some people are touring overseas; others are wining and dining at restaurants and hotels. Playing firecrackers is banned in most the large cities, but it remains the most important part of festival atmosphere in the countryside.
In Beijing, the national capital, bells were ringing to greet the new year and several hundred people signed their names on a big streamer to support Beijing's bid for hosting the 2008 Olympic Games.
Many Beijingers marked the holiday by donating to the blizzard- affected people in Inner Mongolia. The city has so far donated approximately 300,000 yuan and 20,000 pieces of clothes.
Festivities apparently didn't delay business in China's leading commercial center Shanghai. A contract on railway projects was signed Tuesday between Shanghai and several famous foreign companies.
People in Fuzhou, capital of east China's Fujian Province, have shown a special liking for fresh flowers and books, which are seen as popular gifts instead of food and wine.
Shanxi has witnessed the conclusion of a project to divert water from the Yellow River to its Fenhe Reservoir, which will substantially relieve the shortage of water in the northern province.
In southwest China's Chengdu City, more flights have been added to satisfy the growing number of people who no longer like to stay in and want to travel to other provinces or abroad during the week- long holiday.