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Celebrate 2010 Chinese New Year just as locals in Beijing do !


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Chinese New Year 2010 Introduction Spring Festival, widely known as Chinese New Year in the west, falls on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January and early February) according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is the most important traditional festival in China and is celebrated grandly and extensively across the country. In 2010, Chinese New Year takes place in February 14th. Chinese New year is a very important occasion for the Chinese people, and is a time for families to be together. So no matter how far away people are, they will try their best to go home and spend the festival with their families. This is why the period over Chinese New Year is also the time for the largest human exodus. Millions of migrant workers and overseas Chinese around the world travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year’s Eve. The New Year Festival is the most important holiday of the Chinese year. Various celebrations will be held in parks and the street in cities and towns across the country. Although the ways of celebrations vary a bit according to different regions, in general, Chinese people celebrate their traditional festival in the following ways: eating New Year feast, setting off firecrackers, visiting relatives and friends and hanging red lanterns. Read more on Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese New Year is an official holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. In mainland China, most people will have 7 days off of work. In 2010, people will be off of work from 13th to 19th for New Year celebrations. Even though most people will be staying at home with their families, hotels, markets, restaurants, shopping malls and tourist attractions keep open (Most of them will be closed on the first day).


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Legend of Spring Festival Legend goes that in ancient China there lived a monster named Year who, with a horn on the head, was extremely ferocious. Year lived deep at the bottom of the sea all year round and climbed up the shore only on New Year's Eve to devour the cattle and kill people's lives. Thereupon on the day of every New Year's Eve people from all villages and stockaded villages would flee, bringing along the old and the young, to the remote mountains so as to avoid the calamity caused by the monster of Year. On the day of that New Year's Eve the people of Peach Blossom village were bringing along the old and the young to take fight when there came from outside the village an old beggar. With a stick in his hand and a bag hanging upon his arm, he had eyes twinkling like stars and a graceful beard as white as silver. Seized with a panic, the villagers were in a great hurry to run away. Some were closing the windows and locking the doors, some were packing and others were urging the cattle and driving the sheep. At a time when the people were shouting and the horses were neighing no one was in the mood to care for the beggar. Only a grandmother living in the east end of the village gave the old man some food and advised him to hurry up the mountains to avoid the Year monster. But the old man stroked his beard and said with a smile, If you allow me to stay at your home for the night, I'm sure to drive away the monster of Year." The old woman was surprised to hear this. She looked at him scrutinizingly only to find that, with white hair and ruddy complexion, the old man had a bearing out of the ordinary. She went on to persuade him to take fight. But he only smiled without reply. Thereupon the grandmother could not help but leave her home to go up the mountains. Around midnight the monster of Year rushed in the villages. He found the atmosphere was quite different from that of the previous year. The house of the grandmother in the east end of the village was brilliantly illuminated, with bright red paper stuck on the door. Greatly shocked, the monster gave a strange loud cry.


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The monster of Year stared angrily at the house for a moment. And then howling furiously, he made a pounce on it. As he approached the door, there came all of a sudden the exploding sounds of bang-bong. Trembling all over, the monster dared not make a step forward. It turned out that the red color, flame and exploding were what Year feared the most. And when the door of the grandmother's house was thrown open and an old man in a red robe burst out laughing in the courtyard, the monster of Year was scared our of his wits and fled helter-skelter. The next day was the 1st lunar month. When people came back from their escape and found everything safe and sound, they were quite surprised. The old woman suddenly realized what had happened and told the villagers about the old beggars promise. The villagers swarmed into grandmother's house and only to find that the door was struck with red paper, the ember of a pile of bamboo were still giving out exploding sound of bang-bong in the courtyard, and a few candles were still glowing in the room.... Everybody was talking about the matter and they concluded in the end that the old beggar was surely the celestial being who came to expel the calamities and bless the people, and that red paper, red cloth, red candles and the exploding firecracker were certainly the magic weapons to drive out the monster of Year. To celebrate the arrival of the auspiciousness, the overjoyed villagers put on their clothes and new hats and went one after another to their relatives and friends to send their regards and congratulations. This was soon spread to the surrounding villages, and people all got to know the way to drive away the monster of Year. From then on, on each New Year's Eve, people from every family stuck antithetical couplets written on red paper on their doors, blew up firecrackers, kept their houses brilliantly illuminated and stayed up late into the night. Early in the morning of the 1st of the 1st lunar month they went to their relatives and friends to send their regards and congratulations. These customs were spreading far and wide and the day thus became the most ceremonious traditional festival among the Chinese people.


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Celebration of Spring Festival To celebrate the biggest and most important festival, people do a lot of preparations for it. Early from December 23rd in the Chinese calendar, people begin to clean their houses to bid farewell to the old year. In China, this is called Spring Cleaning. Decorating the houses is also necessary. In China, red is very popular when celebrate festivals because it means good luck and it can set off a happy atmosphere. Therefore, big red lanterns are hung in front of their houses, on trees along the streets, on buildings and stores. On the eve of Spring Festival, red couplets and posters are posted on doors. They symbolize happiness, prosperity and good luck in the New Year. For the Spring Festival is a time for family reunion, therefore, on the eve of Spring Festival, all family members get together to have Reunion Dinner. After the banquet, all family members share the Spring Festival Gala Evening, a performance on CCTV loved by people at home and abroad. When the clock strikes 12 o'clock midnight of New Year's Eve, people light firecrackers and fireworks. It is one of the most popular ways of celebrating the spring festivals coming. It is so exited that people always stay until the wee hours of the morning. The lively atmosphere is full of households, streets, as well as lanes. On the Spring Festival, people wear new clothes to welcome the New Years coming. At the early morning, people greet relatives and friends with congratulations and wish good luck to each other. This custom is called New Year Greetings. Then children received their lucky money in red pockets from their grandparents, their parents, their relatives and friends of their parents. It is believed that red pocket money can bring good luck and ward off monsters. When the children get their lucky money, they always give their best regards with auspicious words. There are lots of activities of celebrating the Spring Festival, such as various ball games, evening parties and dancing, but the most popular ones are Dragon Dance and Lion Dance. China is a big country with 56 ethnic groups. All the ethnic groups celebrate the spring festival almost the same day with different customs. If you come to the Tibet, Yunnan, Guizhou Province at this time, you can also share the minority way of celebrating the Spring Festival, much special and enjoyable. The following are the customs of famous cities Beijing, Hong Kong, Guilin, and Guangzhou celebrate the Spring Festival.


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Chinese New Year Food Chinese New Year Foods are very important to Chinese people. All family members come together to eat at this time. Chinese New Year foods are not only delicious but it is traditional to eat certain foods over this festival. Chinese Dumplings, Fish, Spring Rolls, Nian Gao are usually eaten over the New Year. Chinese Dumplings: Chinese Dumplings look like silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during New Year celebration, more money you can make in the New Year. Almost all Chinese people can make dumplings, first mix the dough, second make the dough into wrappers by a rolling pin, third fill the wrappers with pork, beef, vegetable, fish or anything else can be used as stuffing. Fish: In Chinese, Fish sounds like "save more". Chinese People always like save more money at the end of year because they think if they save more, they can make more in the next year. Spring Roll: People like Spring Roll because they are nutritious and delicious. Spring Rolls contain pork and vegetable. They can be easily taken on picnics. They get their name because they are traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year Celebration. Nian Gao(Glutinous Rice Cake) : In Chinese, Nian Gao sounds like "getting higher year by year". In Chinese people's mind, the higher you are, the more prosperous your business is. Main ingredients of Nian Gao are sticky rice, sugar, Chestnuts, Chinese date and lotus leaves.


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Chinese New Year Travel FAQs Q: Is it possible to travel in China during Chinese New Year? A: Travel to China is possible over the New Year as long as you are well-prepared. Be prepared to see big crowds in the streets, restaurants, trains and train stations. All travel bookings are extremely tight , hotels generally increase their rates. Q: Will everything be closed over Chinese New Year? A: The tourist-related industry opens as usual even though government buildings and offices are closed during the New Year Holiday. Restaurants, tourists attractions, hotels, airports, departments stores will be open and ready for more customers. Q: Which is the best place to experience an authentic Chinese New Year? A: Beijing is the best place to experience Chinese New Year in terms of celebrations and the atmosphere. As the New Year approaches, most of the city gets into the spirit, and is decorated with red lanterns. New Year songs and greetings can be heard over the noise. There are a lot of temple fairs during the New Year. China Highlights' New Year Tours give you an opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year as the locals in Beijing do. Q: What is the weather like during the New Year Festival? A: The Chinese New Year Festival takes place in late January and late February, which is the coldest time in China. North China is a frozen expanse with average temperature below 0 ℃(32℉). Take Beijing and Harbin for example. In Beijing temperate sometimes plummets to -10 ℃(14℉) during the New Year. It is even colder in Harbin with the lowest temperature below -20 ℃(-4℉). Snowy and icy weather is common. Read more on China Weather. South China is a warmer than the north but it isn’t warm at all in the real sense. Winter in the Yangtze region (Nanjing, Shanghai and Wuhan) is frozen and windy. Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in winter are comfortable. Wintering in southern Yunnan province is enjoyable but dramatic difference occur in temperature between daytime and night. >>more Chinese New Year Travel FAQ


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Would you like to celebrate in China with us? Our Beijing Spring Festival Tour will give a great Chinese New year experience but for a bigger look consider these two great value packages. Beijing New Year Celebration Tour (BJ-30-GP) Duration: 6 Days Departure Date: From 10th February, 2010 to 15th February, 2010. Tour Type: Small group tour with guaranteed departure with minimum 2 persons and maximum of 16 persons. The Highlights of This Tour Celebrate Chinese New Year's with Beijing locals 1. Join the local people to prepare the coming of the new year by decorating their home. 2. Learning Chinese paper cuts or write couplets with Chinese lucky expressions. 3. Make dumplings with locals and then join the banquet. 4. Watch the fireworks and listen to bell rings on New Year eve's night. Special activities during New Year 1. Take a rickshaw and experience the festival atmosphere in the Hutong. 2. Visit the Temple Fair (Ditan Park Fair) on the first day of New Year and see various kinds of New Year activities. Visit : The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Hutong and Forbidden City at this festive time.


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Day by Day Itinerary Day 1 Place & Transport: Arrive in Beijing, Flight not included Today's Activities: Airport to Hotel Transfer (Beijing) Day 2 Place & Transport: Beijing Today's Activities: Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car) Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant, Chinese Dinner at Roasted Duck at Fangzhuang - Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car): This lesscrowded section of the Great Wall is a about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather. - Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant: Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant is near Great Wall of Mutianyu section. This garden style restaurant serves farmhouse dishes, specializing in rainbow trout, sturgeon and salmon. Its use of natural ingredients and fabulous taste will leave you with great memories.

- Roasted Duck at Fangzhuang: Quanjude Restaurant enjoys a high reputation among domestic and overseas customers for its Beijing roast duck. They have developed their own technique and are famous for outstanding quality. Fangzhuang branch is located beside the Temple of Heaven.The Wangfujing branch was established in 1959.The well-known All-Duck Banquet is headed by QUANJUDE roast duck and supported by over 400 dishes with QUANJUDE characteristic flavor.


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Day 3 Place & Transport: Beijing Today's Activities: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Li Heng Tang pearl store Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Traditional Mongolia Restaurant - Temple of Heaven: Situated in the southern part of the city, the temple of heaven covers the total area of 2,700,000 square meters. The temple was built in 1420A.D. It is the place where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would offer sacrifice to heaven and pray for good harvests. The main buildings of the temple including the Circular Mound Altar, Imperial Vault of Heaven and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.The surrounding gardens are full of interesting activities, particularly weekend mornings. - Tiananmen Square: The world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. - The Forbidden City: The Imperial Palace, home to 24 Emperors between 1420 and 1911. Great squares, halls and gates contrast with the intricate networks of side halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters for those who lived in this 'city within a city'. The exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, are also absolutely fascinating. Expect to spend at least 2-3 hours, wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.

- Traditional Mongolia Restaurant: Traditional Mongolia Restaurant is located near the Forbidden City. It serves northern Chinese food based on Mongolia cuisine. It brings Mongolia's long and distinguished cultural and literary history. A traditional Mongolian yurt (tent) is available on the third floor but a reservation is needed and a surcharge applies. Live performances of Mongolian music are sometimes preformed in the restaurant. - Li Heng Tang pearl store: Lihengtang Pearl Store is a state-run enterprise that cultivates, processes, manufactures and sells all type of fresh water and sea pearl jewelry and products. China is the largest fresh water pearl producer in the world with the main base being Jiangsu and Zhejing province. Famous varieties of seawater pearls include: The Tahitian Black Pearl and Nanyang Golden pearl. Lihengtang Pearl Store offer pearls of all types and quality pearls and cater to all price ranges. Tel: 010-88467845 Address: No.2 North Gate Kongjunzhihuixueyuan


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Day 4 Place & Transport: Beijing Today's Activities: New Year's Eve(morning), Short Hutong Tour in Xicheng District, New Year's Eve(Afternoon), New Year's Eve(Evening) Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner - New Year's Eve(morning): After breakfast New Year'Eve Morning you will head to the local markets for shopping just as locals do to buy some New Year souvenirs or gifts. -Short Hutong Tour in Xicheng District: Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards. - New Year's Eve(Afternoon): After touring the Hutong by rickshaw, you will join your host family to prepare the coming of the New Year by decorating the room with Chinese paper cuts or writing couplets with Chinese lucky expressions. You can also join them to prepare the New Year’s Eve dinner – dumplings and enjoy your fruit of labor.

- New Year's Eve(Evening): At midnight bells from the local bell tower sound out the New Year and the deafening sound of thousands of firecrackers will erupt from every household and go on for ever to welcome in the New Year. You can also join in burning fireworks with locals. Around midnight, you will return to the hotel as celebrations continue through the night.


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Day 5 Place & Transport: Beijing Today's Activities: Temple Fair(Ditan Park Fair) Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch -Temple Fair(Ditan Park Fair): One of the city's busiest temple fairs, Ditan Park is the site of the altar where sacrifices were formerly offered to the earth god, and now it has become the gathering place where people celebrate the beginning of a new year and various kinds of activities are held here. Folk performances, snacks of different flavors, all kinds of decorations... the atmosphere is typical - noisy, crowded but always fun! Day 6 Place & Transport: Depart Beijing, Flight not included Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing) Meals: Breakfast


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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Thanks for ruipu’s temple


2010 Chinese New Year Tour