Across Asia, millions have begun to celebrate the Chinese lunar New Year, a multi-week celebration that began on midnight of the 2nd of February, 2011. The year of the rabbit is being ushered in with fireworks across Asia, and Beijing is no exception. At midnight on the 2nd the city erupted in a rain of fireworks and bangs as millions set off fireworks in front of their homes.
Beijing has been suffering from over 100 days of drought, causing severe concerns in the lead up to the New Year celebrations. Extra precautions were taken to ensure fire squads were on hand. Fireworks sales booths had fire extinguishers and water buckets at the ready. Police were out in full force throughout the night as were ambulances and roving swat teams. With concerns over the dryness around the city, citizens were discouraged from lighting fireworks near cultural relic structures, and signs were posted around the city warning of fire danger. According to the China Daily, Hu Calls for All-Out Efforts to Combat Drought. Despite the fire warnings, millions across the city set of fireworks in a display that lasted several hours and continued throughout the night and into the next several days.
The Chinese New Year has been featured prominently in the world media:
English language editions of The China Daily weigh in on Fireworks Displays across the city, and include impressive photos of the area around Hou Hai Lake. Meanwhile, millions around China tuned in to the New Year Gala, an impressive event spanning several hours, including a countdown to midnight. Xinhua Net Reports on Chinese New Year Gala with typical flare. Throughout Beijing, TVs and big screens were blaring the presentation. If young people were unfortunate enough to have to work over the holiday, the congregated around TVs in their places of work and watched the gala unfold. Across the city, the gala could be heard almost as if every TV in town were blaring it. Impressive pictures of the New Year celebrations around Asia were reported by CNN Reports on Year of the Rabbit who managed to accumulate a beautiful slide show of New Year’s glee.
The celebrations will continue until med-February. It is expected that police and fire crews will remain on high alert throughout the holiday. Fireworks remain on sale until the final day, and the normal ban on inner city fireworks is lifted until the final day of the event. For more information on the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in China, read up on China Daily’s feature covering the entire event from multiple angles.