Fifteen days of fireworks and noise!!!
Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival (春节 chun jie) is an annual event celebrated in the majority of countries around the world where a significant Chinese population lives. In China, there are beautiful fireworks and noisy firecrackers every day and night of the fifteen day long festival coupled with smiling, happy Chinese. Because it’s a period of national holiday [usually Chinese have seven consecutive days off from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the sixth day after Chinese New Year’s Day], it’s a time when Chinese can return to their families from major cities where they have been working. It’s therefore not a time in China to take any form of public transport – and for those of you who read my post on Mt Shangfang National Park you will know I learnt my lesson one May Day public holiday!!
From my apartment window overlooking one of the main streets in Beijing, I had a great view of the local Chinese lighting fireworks on Chinese New Year’s Eve. On this evening, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away any bad luck and bring forth good luck. Then over the next fourteen days [and evenings], many many firecrackers are set off to continue the celebrations.
There is an interesting history on the firecracker; in ancient China bamboo stems were filled with gunpowder and burnt to create small explosions and these were used to drive away evil spirits. This method has now evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season where firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string to be hung down and where each firecracker is rolled up in red papers with gunpowder in its core.
Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud [very loud] popping noise and, as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, they have deafening explosions that are thought to scare away evil spirits – loud enough to wake me up from a deep sleep anyway at 3am.
Chinese New Year is truly a sight to behold and a lot of fun if you are out and about around Beijing watching the fireworks and watching all the happy Chinese laughing and celebrating this important Chinese festival, but I must say the continuing sound of the firecrackers all through out the night, every night.. can make for a very restless sleep.
(hundreds of boxes of fireworks are arranged in the middle of the street)
(first lighting of the fireworks)
(fireworks in all stages)
(and the end result; all cleaned up by daylight every day)
Up the road from my home was a huge truck that arrived every New Year full of fireworks and every year they were always sold out. No matter where you are in Beijing, there would be the noise of firecrackers during the day and beautiful fireworks in the evenings.
Whilst it’s a very noisy time, it’s a time every year I really looked forward to – I loved to see the Chinese celebrating and lighting fireworks…plus because I did not travel within China during this period, Beijing was very quiet and streets were pretty empty with all the migrant workers returning home to their loved ones – so it became a time to get around very easily without much traffic.