Lunar, or Chinese, New Year is probably the biggest holiday in China. In China the calendar is lunisolar and so the beginning of the new year isn’t until 31st January 2014.
Everyone gets two weeks off work, which is very generous as the usual rule is that if a holiday falls on a normal working day, that day can be declared a national holiday but the working hours will be paid back by working on the nearest weekend.
There are huge celebrations around this time of year and the city is beautifully decorated. This year is the year of the horse, so there are horse depictions woven in to a lot of the decorations around the city. There are particular Lunar New Year songs played in shops and it is difficult to miss the feeling of celebration building. It’s very similar to the way the UK feels during the run up to Christmas.
Pete and I went to Yuyuan Gardens last weekend and it was wonderful to see the decorations there among the traditional style of buildings. There were lanterns lining all of the streets but in the central courtyard/pond area there were also some floats depicting scenes from Chinese history and one of Snow White with her dwarfs. I’m not sure what that has to do with China or the new year!