The Year of The Horse!

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If you ever get the opportunity to see Chinese New Years for yourself I would highly recommend it! Not only is Chinese New Years one of the biggest celebrations in the world, but it is a great time to visit the big cities without fighting the crowds. This year, I spent Chinese New Years in Beijing and this is what I saw.

Fireworks steadily began exploding around Christmas time and they continue well into February … In the days leading up to New Years there were a significant amount more fireworks and then … When the sun went down on New Years Eve they began exploding throughout the city every 5-10 seconds!

During the 6 hours leading up to midnight, fireworks were non-stop!

Within one hour of midnight pandemonium ensued. Pops, explosions, and light filled the sky every 1-2 seconds from all directions and from every street corner, building, and intersection! In the 5 minutes before midnight the sky erupted in a violent competition between the entire city to see who could fire off the most fireworks.

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Fireworks from the streets and apartment buildings of Beijing (Year of the Horse)

We viewed the celebration from the rooftop of a Beijing hostel. It wasn’t a tall building and it wasn’t all that close to any famous shows or parades … but what we got was the heart and people of China displaying the truly spectacular ability of people to come together in celebration.

When I went to bed at 1am that night fireworks were still going strong, car alarms were going off, and I woke up the next morning to even more fireworks :) It was an incredibly exciting time to be in China and well worth seeing it from the capital city! If you are planning a trip to China next year and your dates are flexible, it might be worth planning to see it around the Spring Festival. Everyone in China gets about 4 weeks off for the Spring Festival and there are many advantages; and some smaller disadvantages of traveling in China during this time. 

Advantages of Traveling to China During the Spring Festival
The biggest advantage is that we get an entire month off because schools close! Another huge advantage of traveling during the Spring Festival is that cities like Shanghai and Beijing have way less people and tourists than they usually would. Most Chinese people use the opportunity to travel back home to see family outside of the big cities. So tourist sites that are usually packed, are calm and relaxing during the Spring Festival.

Disadvantages of Traveling to China During the Spring Festival
The disadvantages of traveling during the Spring Festival is that trains, buses, and planes can be absolutely packed with people trying to move from the big cities to smaller cities. The other disadvantage is that many local restaurants and shops that you would see otherwise, are closed for 5-10 days before and after New Years Day.

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