China today gave the welcome to the Lunar New Year with numerous celebrations, banquets and prayers to celebrate the arrival of the dragon, considered a symbol of power, vitality and good fortune in the eastern zodiac.
In Beijing, hundreds of people came this morning to the Lama Temple to light incense sticks and accompany the Tibetan monks in their offerings, composing one of the most iconic ceremonies held throughout the country to begin the also called Festival. of spring.
Meanwhile, the images of dragons fill shop windows, doors and streetsin different modalities, in stores and in homes, to comply with the custom of hanging figures of the new sign, in this case a mythological animal revered in China for its ability to control the wind and rain to guarantee good harvests.
The dragon, which replaces the rabbit, is worshiped in China to the point that many couples decide to have children during their year. the good auspices that it entails.
The cities also display all kinds of lanterns these days, almost always red, a symbol of good luck for the Chinese.
Another protagonist of the festival are the “hongbao”, also red envelopes with money inside and which are given to family and friends to wish fortune for the coming year.
It is also a way of “spreading” good luck to whoever receives it, and what prevails is the intention rather than the quantity.
Another tradition is to set off firecrackers and fireworks, lit to scare away evil spirits, although in large cities like Beijing they can no longer be heard because they were prohibited in order to avoid further pollution and for safety reasons.
For a week, the most populated country in the world is paralyzed and hundreds of millions of people visit their places of origin to welcome the new year by fulfilling these ancestral traditions, a mixture of superstition and custom, to ward off misfortunes and attract abundance.
The practices also include hang paper cuttings to bring good luck to the family or carry out a thorough cleaning of the home to make room for good energy and prosperity: this month, demand for home cleaning services in China skyrocketed by up to 300% with the arrival of the New Year, a time in which Tradition advises throwing away old things.
The family reunion in China means that millions of people return to their cities of origin: authorities expect that this year there will be almost 9 billion trips during the 40-day period known as “Chunyun”, in which trips are most frequent , which represents an increase of 40% compared to last year and marks a historical record.
The celebrations are being massive this year because they are the first since China relaxed and then eliminated the severe “zero covid” strategy, which kept the country closed tight and with extreme hygiene measures since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, some provinces have had to take extreme precautionary measures due to the poor weather forecast, with intense rain and snowfall during the New Year holiday period, which this year falls between February 10 and 17.
Xi Jinping’s message to be a “strong” country
Although most of the businesses in the capital close these days, there are those who rest without leaving Beijing or work during the holidays to make good money.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech last night to greet all Chinese for the holidays in which he acknowledged that the Asian giant has gone through a difficult time, with “an exceptionally complicated international environment and arduous reform and maintenance tasks.” of stability”.
“All in all, we joined forces, overcame multiple challenges and progressed on our journey to make China a modern country,” said the president.
Xi commented that China has “added certainty and positive energy to a world of change and disorder,” but called for “efforts” to “encourage entrepreneurship and creativity” this year at a time of great economic uncertainty among the population.
“The dragon personifies the spirit of self-improvement, hard work and the push of the Chinese nation for 5,000 years. It is also a symbol of the determination and aspiration of millions of Chinese to have a strong country. “The dragon, as the emblem of China, is strong, brave and benevolent,” she noted.