Spring Festival is a time for relaxation, celebration, spending time with one’s family, and – above all – shopping! In China, people start ban nianhuo (办年货) or doing Spring Festival shopping one or two weeks before New Year’s Eve officially arrives to prepare for the sumptuous family dinner and bring a festive atmosphere into the house. To help you replicate that good cheer, here are our picks for some of the best places around town to do Spring Festival shopping.
1. Major Supermarkets
This is maybe one of the most convenient ways to pick up basic supplies for Spring Festival in one place. Major supermakets like BHG, Carrefour, and Wal-Mart usually open up special sections for Spring Festival shopping, where you can find traditional red decorations (scrolls, door illustrations, paper cuttings, fu characters, and red envelopes), as well as typical Spring Festival food (niangao, tangyuan, candies, and assorted nuts).
2. Guanyuan Wholesale Market
Claiming to be one of the most traditional markets in Beijing for Spring Festival shopping, Guanyuan Wholesale Market features a variety of baubles and trinkets at reasonable prices. When you step onto the second floor, get ready to be swallowed by a red sea of decorations! From stall to stall, you’ll find everything you need to deck out your house Chinese-style and get typical Chinese gifts for friends and family. Don’t forget to bargain!
3. Hongqiao Market
For those who live in the southern end of the city, this is a great spot to do your Spring Festival shopping.Hongqiao Market offers a wild mix of merchandises; everything you’ll ever need in Beijing can be found here.
4. Laitai Flower Market
If you are looking for some fresh flowers or greenery for your home, this is the place to go. Located near Ladies’ Street in Liangmaqiao, Laitai Flower Market sells fortune-bringing plants like potted narcissus, lucky bamboo, or golden kumquat. Also try: Liangma Flower Market, Beidong Floriculture Garden
5. Online Shopping
If you’re ready for the challenge, why not try online shopping? Every year for Spring Festival, big websites like like Taobao and 360Buy always offer lots of promotions, with discounts of up to 50% off – that’s more than you would get in a physical store, let alone the huge selection of goods that you can find online. For people who are on a tight budget, online shopping is your best shot for finding the best deals.
For more markets, check out our May 2012 feature.
Born and bred in Beijing, beijingkids intern Celia Hao is currently a senior university student majoring in Spanish at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). Passionate about writing, she is eager to share her love for this amazing city. Her interests include movies, travel, and good food.