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Awaiting Spring Festival

Only a few days remain before the traditional Spring Festival, China's most important holiday, but people of all ages throughout the country are already in a festive mood.

Their perpetually smiling faces symbolize eager anticipation of family celebrations and the upcoming new year carnival.

Along the busy streets in downtown Beijing, conspicuous, colourful banners announcing holiday sales are seen everywhere.

Beautifully dressed youngsters browse around shopping centres, longing for exotic or inspiring purchases. Even the most frugal Chinese have decided to spend lavishly for the festival.

During the weekends before the festival, stores are filled with a variety of goods while people line up in long queues at changing rooms and cashier booths.

The Chinese lunar new year has always been a time of joy and happiness encompassing family reunions, fine cuisine, new clothes and much more.

People are looking forward to the climax of the festive celebrations.

The picture shows that customers select goods in the Darunfa Supermarket in Yantai, east China's Shandong Province. As the Spring Festival draws near, many stores set aside a special section for patrons to choose so-called nianhuo, mostly seasonal food, home decorations and gifts.

(China Daily February 8, 2002)

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