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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid