A trip to Chinese New Year’s eve in Xi’An

With JetLag Warriors and Ken Abroad ...

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Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important traditional holiday in China, marking the beginning of the lunar new year. It is celebrated by Chinese communities around the world, as well as in other East Asian countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Here's an overview of Chinese New Year and its traditions:

Timing and Duration:
Lunar Calendar: Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar, with the date falling between late January and mid-February each year. The exact date varies because it is based on the lunar phases.

Festival Period: The celebrations typically last for 15 days, beginning on the eve of Chinese New Year and ending with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the lunar calendar.

Traditions and Customs:
Family Reunions: Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together and celebrate. Many people travel long distances to reunite with their relatives, leading to the largest annual human migration in the world, known as Chunyun.

Cleaning and Decoration: In the days leading up to Chinese New Year, families clean their homes to sweep away bad luck and make way for good fortune. They also decorate their homes with red lanterns, couplets (duilian), and paper cutouts featuring auspicious symbols.

Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner: The New Year's Eve dinner, known as 'reunion dinner' (??? tunninfn), is a lavish feast shared with family members. Traditional dishes include fish (symbolizing prosperity), dumplings (symbolizing wealth), and various other symbolic foods.

Red Envelopes (Hongbao): Red envelopes containing money are given as gifts during Chinese New Year, especially to children and unmarried individuals. The red color symbolizes good luck and wards off evil spirits.

Fireworks and Firecrackers: Fireworks and firecrackers are set off at midnight on New Year's Eve and throughout the festival period to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck.

Lion and Dragon Dances: Colorful lion and dragon dances are performed in streets, parks, and public squares to bring prosperity and good fortune to communities.

Zodiac Animals:
Each Year is Associated with an Animal: Chinese New Year is symbolized by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. Each animal is believed to influence the personality traits and destiny of individuals born in that year.

Travel and Celebrations:
Spring Festival Gala: The Spring Festival Gala, broadcasted on Chinese television on New Year's Eve, features a variety of performances, skits, and musical acts. It is one of the most-watched television programs in the world.

Temple Fairs: Traditional temple fairs are held throughout China during Chinese New Year, offering food stalls, performances, games, and cultural activities for visitors to enjoy.

Chinese New Year is a time of joy, reunion, and renewal, filled with rich traditions and customs that have been passed down through generations. It is a celebration of family, community, and the arrival of spring, marking a fresh beginning and the promise of prosperity in the year ahead.

Xi'an, located in the heart of Shaanxi Province in northwest China, is one of the oldest cities in China and served as the capital for numerous dynasties, including the Qin, Han, and Tang. Renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and iconic landmarks, Xi'an is a must-visit destination for tourists. Here's a guide for tourists visiting Xi'an:

Historical and Cultural Significance:
Ancient Capital: Xi'an served as the capital of China for over 13 dynasties and played a crucial role in shaping Chinese history and civilization. It was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, facilitating trade and cultural exchange between China and the West.

Terracotta Army: One of Xi'an's most famous attractions is the Terracotta Army, a vast collection of life-sized terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Discovered in 1974, the Terracotta Army is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of China's rich cultural heritage.

Top Attractions:
Terracotta Army Museum: Located about 30 kilometers east of Xi'an, the Terracotta Army Museum is home to thousands of intricately crafted terracotta warriors, horses, and chariots. Visitors can explore the excavation pits, marvel at the craftsmanship, and learn about the history of the Qin Dynasty.

Ancient City Wall: Xi'an is renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Stretching over 13 kilometers in length, the wall offers panoramic views of the city and is a popular spot for walking, cycling, and sightseeing.

Muslim Quarter: Explore the vibrant Muslim Quarter, located near the Drum Tower and Great Mosque of Xi'an. This bustling neighborhood is known for its lively street markets, traditional Islamic architecture, and delicious street food, including lamb skewers, roujiamo (Chinese hamburger), and hand-pulled noodles.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Built during the Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a prominent Buddhist landmark in Xi'an. Visitors can climb the pagoda for panoramic views of the city or explore the surrounding temple complex and gardens.

Shaanxi History Museum: Discover the rich history and culture of Shaanxi Province at the Shaanxi History Museum. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including ancient pottery, bronze ware, jade, and Tang Dynasty murals, providing insights into the region's heritage.

Practical Tips:
Transportation: Getting around Xi'an is convenient with its extensive public transportation system, including buses, taxis, and the Xi'an Metro. Bicycle rentals are also available for exploring the city at a leisurely pace.

Weather: Xi'an has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.

Language: Mandarin Chinese is the official language spoken in Xi'an, although English may not be widely spoken, especially in more remote areas. It's helpful to learn some basic phrases or carry a phrasebook or translation app.

Currency: The currency used in China is the Chinese Yuan (CNY). Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops in urban areas, but it's advisable to carry cash for small purchases and transactions.

Xi'an offers a fascinating blend of ancient history, cultural heritage, and modern urban life, making it an enchanting destination for tourists seeking to explore the wonders of ancient China. Whether marveling at the Terracotta Army, walking along the ancient city wall, or sampling delicious street food in the Muslim Quarter, Xi'an has something to offer for every traveler.

ShaanXi map

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