Chinese festivities

On the eve of China’s Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, an avalanche of festivities is unleashed all over the country. In fact, the merriment is not limited to China alone. This event is celebrated across the world. In fact, projects like the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative have increased the events popularity, because of the large number of Chinese nationals working abroad on these projects.

The Chinese New Year has the same significance for the Chinese that Christmas has for Christians and the two Eids have for Muslims. Every year on this occasion, there is a massive wave of Chinese people rushing back to their home country to celebrate with their friends and family. This brings a surge in financial activity. Obviously, the transport industry makes a lot of money as so many people rush home. There is also a nationwide shopping spree every year at the time of the event.

As per estimates about 2.98 billion trips are highly likely during 2018 Spring Festival travel rush between February 1 and March 12 in China. Aplan has been mapped out to tune in railway transport capability to handle an additional 1,152 and 1,330 train services before and after the festival, respectively, on the basis of 3,819 operating trains every day. An additional 177 high-speed train services have been authorised to run operations each night, which may be carrying 100,000 more passengers each day. Aviation authorities have also beefed up plans to operate an additional 30,000 flights during the travel rush on the basis of about 14,500 flights every day.

In the backdrop of this hustle and bustle, a large number of Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects have shown their admirable work ethic by not flying back to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This sacrifice will ensure that the pace of CPEC development remains unhindered. Half the diplomatic staff at the Chinese embassy are also staying back in Pakistan.

Chinese restaurants are also decorated with a festive look to mark the Chinese New Year. The most common decoration at such establishments is the Chinese lantern

However, these people will still be celebrating this cherished occasion. Chinese nationals who are staying in Pakistan have made their own arrangements. Establishments which espouse Chinese culture, such as Chinese restaurants, are also wearing a festive look to mark the event.

The most common decoration at such establishments is the Chinese lantern. In their simplest form, they are simply a paper bag with a candle placed inside, although more complicated lanterns consist of a collapsible bamboo or metal frame of hoops covered with tough paper. Other lanterns are made out of coloured silk (usually red) or vinyl. Silk lanterns are also collapsible with a metal expander and are decorated with Chinese characters or designs.

In order to enjoy celebrations, a Lantern Festival is traditionally observed, marking the return of spring. This ritual was observed the first time during the Eastern Han Dynasty when Emperor Hanmingdi, a supporter of Buddhism who was inspired by monks who were lighting lanterns in their temples. He asked people to light up temples, households, and royal palaces with lanterns. This Buddhist custom gradually became the grand festival it is today.


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