Happy New Year and the Chunyun

Happy New Year!


And I am not talking about January 1st.

There are A LOT of people in Beijing. My teacher today said 22 million. I think that is a bit more than Seattle.

Normally, when we walk down city sidewalks, me and mom and or dad hold hands to side step together and dodge all the other people walking on the sidewalks. And crossing the street, so many cars, it is very scary as darting, honking cars, motor bikes, bikes and buses don’t seem to follow the same rules of the road we are used to in Seattle. But, the past few days, much different. Where are all the people and cars?

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New Year decorations

February 7th was the Chinese New Years day. Happy Year of the Monkey! Also known as the Spring Festival in China. The streets were empty because the number of Chinese that travel to celebrate with family, from mostly Eastern urban areas back to their homes is simply mind blowing. An estimated 1 billion people, 2.9 billion ’trips’, the largest annual human migration on earth. Called “Chunyun”- the great spring festival migration. How many people…
Imagine the entire population of Seattle, no all of North America, all moving from one coast to the other, all at the exact same time. For us in Beijing, this means big city streets nearly empty of cars at 4pm. The few shops that are open, have short check out lines and improved air quality from this lack of cars on the road and less heating systems who burn coal.

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New Year display at Solana Mall

My favorite part of the holiday is no school for the whole week and fireworks every night and some during the day. Not just one city sponsored firework show but literally hundreds throughout the city. They start early and go late. One day, they started at 7am.

Unfortunately, one down side is all that smoke causes bad air pollution and we had to wear masks that day.

Beijing goes all out and decorates shops, houses, cars, trees, and buildings for the New Year. And lots and lots of red. Not sure why…Dad, what does your phone say about that?

Oh, and there is a huge, really popular and long national TV show to celebrate. It goes on for days and days. We watched about five minutes. Some woman, wearing old Chinese clothes was singing. I thought it was boring so dad turned the channel to a Chinese pro basketball game. He said he wanted to watch some Duke players who couldn’t make it to ‘the league’. Whatever. So, I decided to go build a ninja warrior snake out of legos.

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Have I mentioned its really cold here? We three all bought new, puffy warm jackets just before we moved. And very, glad we did. The daily highs are about mid 20s to mid 30s but what’s really cold is the wind.

Dad says we’ll likely focus on just the weather another time.

Good night from China.

 

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. Charles · February 18, 2016

    Hi Will, Happy New Year. Thanks for the interesting post. I hope the Year of the Monkey is a good one for you and your mom and dad. I have never heard of Chunyun before– sounds like there might be a few really bad traffic jams on the highway with all of those people going back home. Stay warm and send more stories and pictures–say “hi” to mom and dad– Charles

    Adele, Mary Thorn and Reid say “Hello”
    How do you say “hello” in Chinese?

    Like

    • Scott · February 24, 2016

      “nǐ hǎo” or 你好 Charles. Thanks for reading my blog

      Like

  2. Jane Campbell · February 18, 2016

    Hi Will, Your description of the New Year is full of information I never knew about. The colors are lovely, too. I love your new jacket! Keep writing to us. Grandma Jane

    On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 8:25 AM, Beijing from 39 inches up wrote:

    > Scott posted: “Happy New Year! And I am not talking about January 1st. > There are A LOT of people in Beijing. My teacher today said 22 million. I > think that is a bit more than Seattle. Normally, when we walk down city > sidewalks, me and mom and or dad hold hands to si” >

    Like

  3. judy · February 20, 2016

    So wonderful to now be able to see this blog and follow Will around Beijing! You are already missed when I visit the neighborhood. Keep sharing all your insights and post pictures of food please. Tutu (Eliza’s grandmother Judy)

    Like

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