Chinese New Years is a time to reunite with family...and blow shit up.
In a city of 17 million (more like 12ish during Chinese New Years becuase many return home), what could be a better idea than having a holiday where you set off fireworks to scare away evil monsters?
There were three fireworks stands all within about 5 minutes of my nainai's (Dad's mom, host grandma) house.
Fireworks had been going off at night for the past few days, but this night was the biggest.
This was just at 6, by about 11 PM it was insane.
The Chinese sparklers are way better than the tiny little ones we have in the US.
At about 9:30 the streets were already littered little red fireworks paper.
The sign of an evening well spent....
At 11:30 things got even better. On my street there were at least four different places were people were lighting off fireworks nonstop.
They just kept on bringing out boxes and rolls of fireworks.
Notice how far down the explosions go...
This makes American New Years look terrible.
You would think that litter would be an issue, but there next morning all the boxes and red stuff and been swept up. Pretty impressive.
Aside from setting off fireworks, another Chinese New Years tradition is going to Miao Hui.
Miao Hui are big celebrations, often held in parks. They are pretty similar to a carnival in the US. My host family and i went to Ditan Park, only to find that the better part of Beijing had also decided to come.
There was a line to cross the bridge...
My host father
The red lanterns read "chuen jie miao hui" - New Years Carnival
The crowd was this thick through most of the park.
For those who don't know, the new year is the year of the cow.
The miao hui had been completely commercialized. The park was filled with little stalls, selling everything from colorful wigs to grilled squid. It was pretty similar to the stalls at amusment parks in the US.
The crowd had currents of people going different ways. If you got into a current going the wrong way you were in trouble....
The Chinese love rediculously large stuffed animals too!
Some of the carnival games I had never seen before, This one you tried to land a poker chip on one of the glass plates. Its harder than it looks.
This one was really interesting. At first I though the idea was to drop the lightbulb without breaking it. It turns out that the point is actually to break the lightbulb against the tub. Easier said than done...
I have never seen this in the US, looked like a good time if you could keep your food in your stomach.
Spring is coming? I sure hope so....
The alter (the park was used for sacrifices in ancient times).
Best carnival prize ever.
Happy Chinese New Years!