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Traditions and celebrations

Updated: 2013-01-04 10:47
By Zhang Zixuan ( China Daily)
Traditions and celebrations

Many hostels and restaurants in Fenghuang, Hunan province, offer customers views into the Tuojiang River. Wang Yongji / Xinhua

Whether you like the cold or prefer the tropics, Zhang Zixuan offers you four different ways of celebrating the coming Spring Festival.

There are a thousand ways to celebrate Spring Festival or Lunar New Year because of the vastness of the country. We track from north to south and from east to west to give you four different ways.

Harbin in Northeast China offers you the coldest ice sculptures and frozen pears with the hottest yangko dance and dumplings. Sanya in South China brings the warmest tropical wind and bluest ocean.

In Hunan's Fenghuang ancient town, the starlight-like river lanterns lead you into the most poetic scene. At Shanxi's Qikou township, the roaring Yellow River, accompanied by the cracking of ice, thrills you with the best of nature.

Harbin, Heilongjiang

Traditions and celebrations

Dubbed "Paris of the Orient", Harbin carries the post-Christmas joy right up to Lunar New Year.

The provincial capital of Heilongjiang province in Northeast China still maintains some traces of Western lifestyle and more than 200 fine examples of Russian architecture in town.

But come Spring Festival, the city blends Eastern and Western elements to perfection. The highlight is the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, bringing with it ice sculptures, on-ice performances and entertainment galore.

From Lunar New Year's eve right up to the 15th day of the first month in lunar calendar, every family has a red lantern in their home. Locals and visitors are treated to the yangko dance, a form of folk dance popular in northern China. The dance is so contagious that tourists are not expected to remain observers for long, but to join the dancers and have a good time.

Like most Chinese, local Harbin residents pay special attention to family reunion dinner on the eve of Lunar New Year. The meal must include the "big four" - chicken, fish, ribs and pork leg. If any of the "big four" is missing, it is not considered a reunion dinner with Northeast flavor.

And of course, dumpling is the most important food on the dinner table. The filling can range from sauerkraut to pork, shallot and lamb, and tomato and egg.

Traditions and celebrations

 Wintery scenery of a small village in Heilongjiang

Making dumplings with family members is the best bonding activity, and the fastest way for new friends to warm up. Some families will also put a few coins into some of the dumplings. There is a belief that those who chance upon the "fortune dumplings" will be blessed with good luck throughout the coming year.

After a sumptuous dinner, sink your teeth into a frozen pear - a genius creation that can only be inspired by a temperature of -30 C.

Sanya, Hainan

If you are not coping with the cold in North China very well, you will love Sanya in South China. Celebrating Lunar New Year in the tropics is equally exciting.

Nature has blessed Sanya with the best weather, the freshest air, the sunniest sunshine, the bluest ocean and the most delicious seafood. Staying in the island makes you forget about time.

Yalong Bay is a half-moon-shaped bay of 7.5 km in Southeast Sanya. Sand here is soft and glitters under the sun, while the sea is blue and as clear as crystal, with an average temperature of 25 C, making it an ideal year-round swimming paradise.

You may also consider having your wedding portraits done in Sanya. With the breathtaking scenery, you are guaranteed the best and most memorable photographs.


Coconut chicken, duck and roast suckling pig are must-try local dishes.

There is express train from East Haikou Station in Haikou, Hainan province's capital city to Sanya.

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