Chinese New Year

Here is a short 1 min video from my apartment window on the 7th floor as hordes of Chinese celebrate their Lunar New Year with loud firecrackers and spectacular fireworks …

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MANV14Ar6j4[/youtube]

As the traditional Chinese calendar follows the phases of the moon, the Chinese New Year will fall on a different date each year, usually at some point in late January or early February. In 2010, the new year coincidentally coincides with Valentine’s day, on 14th February.

A traditional part of welcoming in the new year, is to make offerings on New Years Eve to the dead. Today you can still watch in parts of Beijing local Beijinger’s make a small fire on the corner of the road and make offerings to their lost ones. Following on from this, Chinese will set off red fire crackers to ‘drive away the evil spirits’, which are combined with more colourful displays of firework displays on nearly every street corner.

Fireworks were banned by the government in Beijing until 2005 (too many accidents) and since then the yearly display seems to grow exponentially, both with official displays in public places, to local restaurants and bars to celebrate a successful year, to almost every local resident competing with one another for the biggest, loudest and most colourful display!

The fireworks will be set off all through the day during New Years Eve and culminating in a huge show of mass celebration at midnight. As you can see from the short video above, which was taken from the 7th floor of an apartment block in the residential neighbourhood of Tuanjiehu (directly south of Chaoyang Park and 1km north of the new CCTV tower) the fireworks are literally set-off from every corner, from rooftops and even out of windows. This was actually at 12:10 AM, so the peak had already ebbed somewhat. And I am sure closer to the centre, in prosperous areas or purely from a higher vantage point the display would be even more impressive.

The noise of the firecrackers will continue all through the day for the next two weeks … ???? .. xin nián kuài lè!

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