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La decoración en rojo para el Año Nuevo Chino 2021

The challenge of the 2021 Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is undoubtedly the most important festival in China. This year’s festivities began on Saturday 28 January and will last until 12 February, approximately 15 days in total. According to the tradition of attributing one of the 12 zodiac animals to each year, 2021 will be the year of the ox.

Millions on the move for the Chinese New Year
Image: CGTN

In a typical year, more than a billion people travel to be with their families – that’s one in eight people on the planet! And this is only considering journeys within the country itself. The total number reaches a staggering 3 billion trips for about 40 days around the New Year. It is the “Chunyun”, a holiday period that is often considered the largest human migration in the world.

Travel restrictions

But for the second year in a row, many citizens have been forced to rethink their travel because of the pandemic. A year after the first outbreak, authorities in China want to prevent a resurgence of the virus, and have announced new quarantines and mandatory testing.

Banner in Beijing advising not to travel
Image: BBC

Companies that remain operational during the holidays will receive subsidies. In addition, the government encouraged to offer incentives and free food to their employees, in order to dissuade them from travelling. Migrant workers, i.e. those without local family in the city, will receive privileges normally reserved for locals, such as housing and health care allowances.

And as if all this was not enough to discourage people from traveling, reminder banners have also been placed in the streets of several cities. Like this one in the capital, which reads: “Don’t leave Beijing if you don’t have to”.

At least there’s the CCTV gala

So for many, the option will be to stay at home and celebrate alone or with a small group. Of course, they will be able to watch the colourful and lavish New Year’s Eve gala on CCTV, the public broadcaster. It’s almost 4 hours of entertainment, with extra-colourful sets and a lot of extravagance. Here is a small sample of the opening minutes of last year’s show – we are big fans!

Happy Chinese New Year!
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