News / Asia

China Starts Lunar New Year of the Dragon

A man holds a dragon balloon outside Longhua Buddhist Temple on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Shanghai, January 23, 2012.
A man holds a dragon balloon outside Longhua Buddhist Temple on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Shanghai, January 23, 2012.

This week millions of Chinese travel back to their family homes to celebrate the New Year holiday.  Although the time is traditionally celebrated as a time of happy homecomings, an official survey indicates most people are reluctant to go home.

Social workers coordinated by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs queried migrant workers in China's six biggest cities and found that 70 percent are hesitant to go home.

The issue is hotly debated online, where the week preceding Chunjie, as the New Year holiday is called, the term "afraid to go home" ranked third on the popular search engine baidu.com.

Part of the apprehension is about the journey, itself. Transportation authorities anticipate that more than three billion trips will be made during this year's holiday.

Internet user Lori Geixia posted a chronicle of her long journey home by train, bus and ferry. "The journey back is absolutely terrible for me," she wrote on her microblog account.  But many young people also fear facing their families' judgment.

Newspapers have detailed the list of questions that young migrants would rather not be asked by relatives during their holiday break.  Among them are inquires about one's romantic and financial situation.

A cartoon widely circulated online this week shows a gloomy looking man, sitting on a bench in front of a train station. Bubbles over his head describe the source of his anxiety: unsatisfactory job and low salary, unmarried status and limited money to buy gifts for relatives.

Internet user Misitelu posted a message on his microblog profile as he was waiting for the train back home. "My mood is colorless/dull right now," he wrote. "Because I am part of the group that is afraid to go home, I have all sorts of fears. I have been in Beijing for three years now and I don't have anything."

Although China's booming economy has enriched millions, many young Chinese graduates, mostly single children and often the first in their families to have finished high school, still struggle to live up to their parents' rising expectations.

An Internet user from Sichuan province complains against the rising burden of the hongbao, the traditional red envelopes filled with money that people hand out to relatives during the holidays. "From 20 Yuan, to 50, then to 200, 400, 500," he says, "at the same time my income is falling. I cannot afford this!"

Beijing University sociologist Zhou Xiaozheng argues against the traditional New Year emphasis on wealth and achievements in an widely cited article on the popular site Sohu.com.

"Instead of concentrating on the level of riches one has," he writes, "people should focus on the sense of happiness they get from celebrating chunjie as it should, with one's family," Zhou stated.

Chunjie is undoubtedly the country's most family-oriented holiday.  Chinese traditional culture emphasizes that people maintain strong ties with their birthplace. Many folk songs recount the joys of homecoming, and the nostalgia for those who in such occasion cannot reunite with their family.

Despite the discussion about homecoming anxiety in the days before the New Year holiday, one day into the festivities, posts on Chinese Internet forums have changed in tone.  In online forums, most Internet users are sending their wishes for a happy year of the dragon.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid