Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Migrant workers cram trains, rich head overseas as Chinese communities mark Lunar New Year

Divers carry a man-made dragon, as part of Chinese New Year dragon blessings to wish all their guests boundless energy in the Year of the Horse, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 at the South East Asia Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. Local Chinese will celebrate the new year in the Chinese lunar calendar, which begins on Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Enlarge Image

Divers carry a man-made dragon, as part of Chinese New Year dragon blessings to wish all their guests boundless energy in the Year of the Horse, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 at the South East Asia Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. Local Chinese will celebrate the new year in the Chinese lunar calendar, which begins on Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

BEIJING, China - Dragging a heavy suitcase through a Shanghai subway station, 17-year-old Linghu Yong prepared himself to cram onto a jam-packed train Thursday for the 30-hour trip home to spend the Lunar New Year with his family.

And he was one of the lucky ones. Crowds of other migrant workers were still camped out for the often dayslong wait for a ticket.

"I'll be celebrating the New Year for the first time on the train," said the aspiring college student from the western city of Chongqing, who came to Shanghai to apprentice at a cellphone factory. "My New Year wish is to go home to celebrate the New Year with my family, and to buy a computer."

China's Lunar New Year migration is often referred to as the largest movement of people anywhere, with 3.6 billion trips of all lengths by bus, plane and train expected to be made over the 40-day travel rush. While still an annual ritual for millions working far from home, such journeys are being shunned by many of the newly prosperous who are increasingly using the weeklong national holiday to fly to overseas or tourist spots within China.

Beijing accountant Wang Zheng, 34, said her whole family will go to China's tropical resort island of Hainan despite its reputation for holiday price-gouging by hotels and restaurants.

"Why not make the holiday more fun rather than just having the usual big dinner with family or going to the traditional temple fair? That definitely gets old," she said.

Chinese communities around the world were gearing up for the holiday that begins at midnight. On self-governing Taiwan, revelers jammed into the capital Taipei's historic shopping district to load up on holiday snacks. Health authorities said that nearly 40 per cent of the island's population can be expected to gain two kilograms (4.4 pounds) during the holiday.

Hong Kong officials expect nearly 8 million travellers to pass through its borders from January 29 to February 6, more than the local population of 7.1 million. Most of those travellers will be mainland Chinese, who have been flooding into the semiautonomous territory in increasing numbers in recent years thanks to rising incomes and a strengthening yuan.

This year marks the year of the horse according to Chinese astrology, generally considered an auspicious time, and business-savvy residents of the territory were hoping for vigorous growth.

"For the Asian economies, especially Hong Kong and China, their luck will be the same ... it will be an economically active year," said Peter So, a master of feng shui, or Chinese geomancy.

Koreans and Vietnamese also celebrate the holiday, while festivities are held in cities from Paris to Phnom Penh, both as a celebration by their Chinese communities and to cater to the throngs of visitors arriving for sightseeing and shopping.

Las Vegas has long made a point of marking the occasion, and hotels, shops and casinos were festooned with New Year greetings and decorations in auspicious red and gold to appeal to big-spending Chinese visitors.

Mainland China will virtually shut down for the next seven days, and many residents of the polluted capital, Beijing, already have departed for holiday destinations. A continuing campaign against waste and corruption foreshadows more modest celebrations this year, while a crackdown on air pollution seems to be reining in the usual orgy of fireworks.

The holiday is generally a time for feasting and visiting friends and relatives, along with making visits to Buddhist and Taoist temples, many of which hold fairs and stage performances. Mainland Chinese have traditionally tuned into the annual New Year's Eve variety show, which state broadcaster CCTV is hoping to reinforce this year with a cast of bigger-wattage stars overseen by popular film director Feng Xiaogang.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Submit a Random Act of Kindness
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media