Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, has more than four thousand years of history. As one of the traditional Chinese festivals, it is the grandest and most important festival for all the Chinese people. Spring Festival this year falls on January 28th, 2017, lasting for fifteen days.
Similar to western Christmas, it is the great time for all the families to get reunion. However, Chinese New Year celebrations vary greatly from place to place. In this post, I'll introduce top places to enjoy Spring Festival 2017, including Beijing, Xi'an, Harbin, Dali, Lijiang, Shangrila, Wuzhen and Shaoxing.
Chinese New Year in Beijing - Beijing Spring Festival
Beijing is an international metropolis, but still retains many ancient charms. Just at the beginning of the twelfth lunar month, the strong festive atmosphere has already pervaded all over the ancient capital. With the new year couplets pasted on the door, traditional temples like Baiyun Temple, Great Bell Temple, Dongyue Temple have become the most busting places in Beijing Spring Festival. Tens of thousands of locals throng into these monasteries and pray the long healthy life for the whole family. It's said that the first one who burns the incense must be the luckiest one in the following year.
In addition to temple fairs, Huahui or Xianghui in Beijing suburb is the most popular folk activity during Chinese New Year. In the daytime, traditional performances such as dragon dances, lion dances, land boat dances, yangge dances, stilt shows will be staged for the residences and tourists. Colorful new year paintings, stunning firework shows, auspicious red lanterns interweave with each other, bringing joy and happiness for the whole region.
Spring Festival Foods in Beijing
Quanjude duck feast, new year dumplings and noodles, sugar-coated haws
Chinese New Year in Xi'an - Shaanxi Spring Festival
Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, is one of the four ancient capitals in China. The temple fair here is really fabulous, especially in Tang West Market. Wandering around the Spring Festival temple fair of Xi'an, you can see the Shaanxi folk artists performing puppet shows, shadow plays, sugar paintings, embroideries, acrobatics and other traditional arts.
After that, you can go to Datang Furong Garden for "the Dream of Datang". Here you'll enjoy a visual feast. This musical drama show will bring you back to the prosperous Tang Dynasty. And no one can resist the charm of gorgeous costumes, beautiful sounds and fancy dancers.
When the night falls, you can join the Lantern Festival, watch the firework shows and attend the riddle-guessing contest. Is that all for your Xi'an Spring Festival? Certainly, Not! You're highly recommended to go to Hui Street night market for the local foods in your Xi'an Tour.
Spring Festival Foods in Shaanxi
Xi'an special dumplings feast, steamed mutton, Shaanxi Rouga Mo (Chinese hamburger), Shaanxi Liangpi and other flour-made dishes.
Chinese New Year in Harbin, Jilin - Spring Festival in Northern China
Spring Festival activities in Heilongjiang always make tourists feel like time is never enough. In this fabulous silver world, you can attend the snow and ice festival in Harbin, skate in the world-known Yabuli Ski Resort, appreciate the marvelous ice-fall in Jingbo Lake at Mudanjiang, shoot the flying cranes in Qiqihar Zhalong Nature Reserve, appreciate the most beautiful snowscape in Snow Country, etc. With the snow floating outside, you will spend a special warm night on the heated-brick bed in northern China.
If time allows, you're highly recommended to join the winter fishing at Chaganhu, Jilin. That must be your once-in-a-life-time trip. Tracing back to the long history, its fishing-hunting culture has thrived for thousands of years. In this winter fishing paradise, you would see the sasoned fishers digging thee thick ice, casting a fishing net, and then capturing hundreds of pounds of fat carps, grass carps, silver carps, catfishes, etc. Seeing the fish jumping on the ice, everybody gets so excited for the good harvest. How do they know where the fishes are? Go there and find out your answer! By the way, winter is also the best time to enjoy the rime in Jilin.
Spring Festival Foods in Northern China
Typical dumplings, stewed chicken with mushrooms, northeast cold dishes, sugar-coated haws, and all kinds of frozen snacks, like frozen pear, frozen persimmon, frozen bread, etc.
Chinese New Year in Dali, Lijiang, Shangrila - Yunan Spring Festival
Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture is one of the best places to experience Yunnan New Year customs. Strolling around Dali ancient town, you would come across pickled meat, cured bacon everywhere. One specialty in Dali rests on the New Year couplets. Actually, it's common to see the Spring Festival couplets pasted on the gateposts and door panels in mainland China. While traveling Dali, you must be amazed to find that each family can hand-write the poetic couplets so easily. They are very nice and outgoing, and you can even ask them to write an exclusive couplet for you as a souvenir in Yunnan ethnic trip.
Lijiang old town is home to Naxi people. It still remains the ancient religious culture and traditional customs. During the Spring Festival, the ritual activities in Lijiang are held one after another. Following the local worship team would make you fully understand people's reverence and respect for the ancestors.
What's more, Shangri-La's Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan, is also worth your visiting during Spring Festival. Numerous people would flock here to pray for blessings in the coming year. In this little Potala Palace, you must be moved by people's devout faith in Buddhism.
Spring Festival Foods in Yunnan
On the New Year's Eve, you shall try some hot and sour Erhai fish. And the local Bai people will drink some sugar water on the New Year's Day, indicating that life in the coming year must be as sweet as sugar. Besides, you can taste some milk biscuits, deep-fried pancakes, etc.
Chinese New Year in Shaoxing, Wuzhen - Zhejiang Spring Festival
If you visit Zhejiang in Chinese New Year, Shaoxing Shexi, a kind of fork opera, is the most special occasion you shouldn't miss out. Through the social drama, you can understand the myths and history of ancient China, as well as the living customs of local people. During the Zhejiang Spring Festival, the local villages and towns will invite the opera troupe to play in front of the temple, or on the temporary stage. Although the performing environment is very simple, you can still feel a strong sense of tradition and heritage.
Many customs of Chinese New Year have been inherited in Wuzhen. The most distinctive one is the "Wuzhen long street banquet". During Spring Festival, Wuzhen people would carry out their tables and chairs along the long street and share their home-brewed rice wine and splendid dishes with neighborhood and tourists. In addition to the fancy dinner, you're doomed to see the lively dragon and lion dance! Why not to stay overnight here and enjoy the traditional long table feast with the hospitable locals?
Spring Festival Foods in Zhejiang
Wuzhen rice cake (New Year cake or Spring Festival cake, made of glutinous rice flour), Shanxing preserved vegetable roast meat. Fish is a lucky symbol in Chinese New Year. Thus, you must try some West Lake Fish in vinegar gravy, Ningbo smoked fish, etc.
With Chinese New Year 2017 approaching, the spring migration has already started. The whole country seems to be on the movement. All the personnel such as workers and students are getting ready to return home. If you plan to travel China during Spring Festival, please do remember to contact us for earlier booking tickets and hotels!
Through Chinese New Year - The Biggest Celebration on Earth, the Spring Festival video conducted by BBC, you’ll know more details about Chinese New Year 2017.