Gong Xi Fa Ca!



That’s the traditional Chinese New Year greeting that means “wishing you prosperity” in Mandarin.

China greeted the Year of the Dragon with spectacular fireworks and some of the coldest weather yet this winter.

Chinese households set off fireworks on the eve of the New Year in order to drive away evil spirits. In Shanghai, the fireworks began some five hours before midnight, building to a crescendo that carpeted the city with light and noise at midnight.

While the outgoing Year of the Rabbit was a year of relative calm for China, Dragon years are greeted with some trepidation and generally thought to be exciting but unpredictable.

Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally lasts 15 days, from the first day (during a new moon) to the 15th day (a full moon). Each day holds a special significance that varies according to local traditions. But first, before the arrival of the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away ill fortune, and to welcome good luck.

Chinese workers traditionally return to their home towns to celebrate the New Year and the country shuts down so extensively that the State Grid forecasted a 40 per cent drop in electricity consumption for the upcoming week, with most factories idle.