Spring Festival sees students and working professionals that form a large part of Beijing's residents emptying out of the capital to spend time with their families in hometowns, but a certain group also takes the opportunity to discover the country.
"I have a quest-to find the real China and see how people celebrate this special season," Amos Nadai, Israeli ambassador in China, told China Daily.
He plans to spend the holiday in Ping Yao, an ancient city in Shanxi Province about 600 km west of Beijing and a United Nations-designated World Heritage site, where he will be joined by Israeli friends to see "what is left of the architecture and the culture of an older China".
Nadai's interest in the Lunar New Year started when he was a child, during which he devoured books about the country.
"So many of them gave beautiful descriptions of the Lunar New Year-the rural villages, the family get-togethers and the preparation for the festivities," said the ambassador.
This is also not the first time Nadai is taking such a cultural expedition during his five-month stay in the capital.
Nadai is not alone in his quest to know the country better during this holiday period.
Seychellois Ambassador Philippe Le Gall also said he would "share the festive mood and join Chinese people in celebrating this meaningful and colorful event".
To Le Gall, his first Chinese New Year will provide "an insight into what has been preserved through thousands of years and remained the essence of Spring Festival".
Unlike Nadai, Le Gall has no plans to go on an expedition for that end. Instead, he believes curiosity will do the trick and he will be rewarded with an exciting experience by just walking around the ancient metropolis that is also Beijing.
Seychelles officially set up its embassy in the capital last September.
The Seychellois ambassador is leaving open the kinds of "emotions, sensations and vibrations" he is going to experience in the coming days.
He "will keep the notebook and pencil within reach".
He also has a heartfelt new year wish-for relieve to be given as soon as possible to "all those who continue to be terribly affected by the bad weather conditions".
Nadai also expressed his concern over the plight that Chinese people have been suffering in the snowstorms that recently struck south China.
(China Daily February 5, 2008)