China is easing into full-blown party mode as millions of migrant workers flock back to their hometowns for days of food, drinks, and festivities with friends, family, and whoever decides to drop by.
Chinese New Year, or The Spring Festival, kicks off on Feb. 7.
The celebrations will usher in the Year of The Monkey. The chimp is the 9th sign in the 12-year Zodiac cycle. Traditional Chinese belief states babies born this year will be curious, smart, cute, and maybe a bit condescending.
The Chinese describe Spring Festival as New Year meets Christmas. All over the country, people will be eating, drinking, and swapping gifts with loved ones. But, the festival also carries a mystical element. People will also be making offerings to their ancestors, and lighting fireworks as their ancestors did centuries ago to scare off evil spirits.
Migrant workers will be returning to their rural homelands for the festivities in what often is called the world’s largest human migration.
China’s Ministry of Transportation estimates that about 2.91 billion domestic trips would be made in China during the holiday season, which stretches from January 1 to March 3.
Some of these travelers are making their way home after being caught in a massive, human traffic jam.
100,000 people found themselves stranded at a rail station in Guangzhou on Monday after severe weather brought trains to a halt. More than 6,000 police officers were deployed to the station to maintain order. The crowd didn’t disperse until Tuesday night.
Many people will also be leaving the country to celebrate.
Ctrip.com, a popular Chinese travel website, expects a record number of 6 million outbound trips being made during the holiday season.
Chinese New Year festivities stretch across the region to places like Singapore, and as far as Chinese communities in the United States.