There is something magical about spending Chinese New Year (CNY) in Beijing. Sure, you could travel to a warm beach someplace and frolic in the surf and sand (sounds lovely), but you would miss all the festivities enjoyed by those stalwart Beijingers who remain here in the capital.
Of course, CNY is a great time to gather with your Chinese and foreign friends to play games, eat great food, and just hang out, but it is also a time for temple fairs, chair skating on city’s lakes and ponds, and enjoying fireworks.
If memory serves, this will be our sixth year in Beijing for the holiday. Although Savvy and the kids still prefer to enjoy the fireworks from behind the comfort of a good window, I make a point of venturing out into the streets to soak up the chaos that ensues for a night or two (the best nights are typically the first few and the last night of the holiday.
If you have not experienced the fireworks in Beijing before, take a moment and recall all the fireworks you have seen in your lifetime. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now, picture them going off all at once.
If you grew up in a small town in the USA like me, it would not even come close to the cacophony of light and noise that breaks out at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is simply staggering the amount of money that Beijingers will spend on their fireworks and it is easy to stand nearby and watch as a few families light up the night sky in your own neighborhood.
So if recently arrived in the capital, couldn’t get away, or simply wish to experience a part of the local culture, look up at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If you do venture outside, you might want to take along some earplugs; they help prevent any unwanted ringing as you ring in the New Year.
Photo courtesy of mastermaq (Flickr)