Chinese New Year/ Spring Festival
10 February 2013, Sunday- 24, February 2013, Sunday
Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival is a big public holiday in Beijing as well as in China. To prepare for this holiday, residents in Beijing clean their houses to get rid of bad luck and bring in good luck for the new year. Houses will be decorated with lanterns, peonies, kumquat trees, paintings, and much more. Chinese New Year is a time of family reunions so most people in Beijing will have a family dinner on New Year’s Eve with foods like fish, dumplings, and glutinous rice cakes which represent luck and prosperity to Chinese. Since Chinese New Year is a time of family reunions, Chinese who came to Beijing to work often return to their hometowns to spend time with their families. During this time, train, buses, and flights are very busy so be sure to arrange your travel ahead of time. There are a lot of things to see in Beijing during this time like: dragon/lion dancing, fireworks, and much more.
However, one of the activities that Beijing is known for during this holiday is going to temple fairs. Temple fairs originated during the Liao Dynasty and feature reenactment of Earth and Heaven worship ceremony, Peking opera, acrobatics, lotus blossom fairy dances, Chinese traditional arts and crafts, and a lot of fun games. There will be a lot of snacks sold at these fairs. Some of the fairs to check out are: Longtan Temple Fair, Ditan Temple Fair, and Dongyue Temple Fair.
Besides temple fairs, there are also a lot of things to do during Chinese New Year in Beijing. The Bird’s Nest, home of the 2008 Beijing Olympics will have Winter Wonderland featuring skating rinks, artificial Winter Wonderland that includes snow sculptures, skating rinks and mini snowboard slopes. You can rent a rickshaw to tour Houhai Lake District which has many bars and ancient buildings and a great place to sit on a rooftop bar and view the fireworks. There are a lot of things to eat in Beijing but don’t forget to eat Peking duck at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant and Mongolian hot pot at Donglaishun to warm yourself up after a cold day in Beijing. During the Spring Festival a lot of stores mark down their prices to attract customers. Hong Qiao Market and GuWanCheng are great places to shop for bargained Chinese souvenirs to bring home.