CHINA Chinese celebrate Spring Festival in new ways as millions stay put

CHINA

Chinese celebrate Spring Festival in new ways as millions stay put

Xinhua

08:25, February 14, 2021

This Spring Festival, millions of Chinese chose not to go back to their hometowns for family gatherings, opting instead to stay where they were for the most important holiday of the year.

Gift packages for students who stay put during the Spring Festival are seen at the Central South University of Forestry and Technolgy in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province, Feb 10, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

As a part of the preventative measures against COVID-19, China has encouraged people to stay locally for the Chinese New Year, inducing new changes to how people celebrate the holiday, such as the increasing use of online services and local tours.

BEIJING - When firecrackers were set off to celebrate the Spring Festival, millions of Chinese chose not to go back to their hometowns for family gatherings, opting instead to stay where they were for the most important holiday of the year.

As a part of the preventative measures against COVID-19, China has encouraged people to stay locally for the Chinese New Year, inducing new changes to how people celebrate the holiday, such as the increasing use of online services and local tours.

Stay-local drive

Su Jianxiong, a postgraduate in Central South University of Forestry and Technology, central China's Hunan Province, spent his first Chinese New Year away from home.

On New Year's Eve, traditionally one of the most important occasions of family reunion, Su was invited to dinner hosted by the university. He also received a gift package including masks, disinfectants, nuts and chocolates from the school.

Su, who hails from Zhejiang Province, about 1,000 km away, chose to stay at the school to avoid potential risks of infection during the trip and spend more time preparing for his thesis.

"The care and hospitality shown by the university gave me a homely feeling," Su said.

Another large group responding to the stay-put call is migrant workers.

A survey led by the China Association for Labor Studies showed, among over 57,000 respondents in about 480 enterprises, 75.38 percent of migrant workers chose to stay at their current enterprises or cities for the Spring Festival this year.

Li Baojun, a worker in Daxing district in southern Beijing, which recently witnessed a resurgence of sporadic COVID-19 cases, decided to stay put instead of going back to his hometown in east China's Anhui Province.

The Daxing district government has offered shopping coupons, phone data packages and free online reading services to migrant workers like Li.

"Everything is smooth here, and my wife understands my decision of not returning home this year as it is for the sake of safety," Li said.

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