Beijing Decorated Lanterns, Streets lit up Ahead of Spring Festival

By | Feb 05, 2016 10:24 AM EST
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Beijing lights up and displays lanterns ahead of Spring Festival

With the biggest occasion in China this year only days away, Beijing is being decorated with lanterns and streets are being lit up ahead of the Spring Festival. (Photo : Getty Images)

With the much awaited Spring Festival only a week away, government workers have begun lighting and decorating Beijing with over 62,000 lanterns and more than 7,100 Chinese knots around 174 avenues, 27 parks and tourist spots and 28 commercial area. Aside from that, over 730,000 meters of landscape adorning across the city has been set up, according to the Municipal Commission of City Administration and Environment.

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Commission's deputy director Wu Yamei said that the government stringently followed the policy of frugality in the decorations. He claimed that the lanterns were made from silk and plastic.

Spring Festival, otherwise known as Lunar New Year, is the biggest public holiday in China. The celebration will begin on Feb. 8. 

The commission announced that every night, lights will be turned on between 6pm and midnight starting on Feb. 6 until Feb. 13. On the Lunar New Year's Eve, light display will extend until 1 AM of Feb. 8.

Just like Christmas in the West, Spring Festival is the biggest and busiest festivity of China where families get together. It is celebrated during the first day of the first lunar month, which is usually a month after the Gregorian calendar. The origin of the Spring Festival dates back to the Shang Dynasty. It is a time where people give thanks to the gods as well as their ancestors.

Spring festival comes with regional customs and traditions too, some of which are practiced until today. Often times, on the night preceding the Chinese New Year's Day, families get together for a reunion dinner. Families also thoroughly clean the house to sweep away bad luck and welcome incoming good luck. They also decorate their doors and windows with red paper cuts with printed Chinese characters that mean "wealth," "longevity," "good fortune" and happiness. After displaying fireworks, children are also handed red paper envelopes with money.

In modern times, the Lunar New Year festival is not only celebrated in the mainland but also in nations with significant Chinese populations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

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