It’s always seemed a little peculiar that the letting go of 365 days and buckling down into new resolutions only required the strike of Midnight. With blasts of fireworks and pops of champagne, the Western hemisphere progresses through the solar calendar in as much time as the peck of a New Years Kiss.
Ringing in the Lunar New Year, however, is quite a bit more dramatic. Over the course of 15 days, China goes into holiday mode: a majority of stores, restaurants and offices close, families travel together, and fireworks are lit all day long. The new icon of the year, the Horse for 2014, becomes the most popular cartoon, adorning everything from red envelopes stuffed with money (hongbao) to special edition baijiu containers. Train stations, airports and highways experience record traffic as 3.62 billion passenger trips happened throughout China this year.
Concealing the holiday cheer this year, however, was a thick layer of concern about smog. It is no secret that China’s air quality has worsened, or at least become a bigger worry, in recent months. With Shanghai and Beijing consistently posting AQI (air quality index) numbers above the healthy limits, government officials and environmental organizations encouraged people to cut back on the pyrotechnics. In fact, the LATimes.com reported that there was general support behind the extinguishment, with 81% of Shanghai respondents saying they supported a total ban. Exact figures on the number of booms aren’t expected but we can say for certain that it’s a Happy New Year.
Sending wishes for the best Year of the Horse from us at IntuuChina!!