2011 is the Year of the Rabbit and throughout the world, Chinese families will be celebrating the New Year with lanterns, fireworks and Chinese knots.
The New Year falls on February 3rd 2011, though the travel rush in China has already begun, with police monitoring transport routes and handing out leaflets to encourage the safe transportation and storage of fireworks.
The General Office of the State Council of China has issued a notification for the 2011 Spring Festival holiday arrangement. The official holiday for the Lunar New Year will be held from Wednesday 2nd – Tuesday 8th February. A full 7 day holiday in total. As a result, Sunday 30th January and Saturday 12th February are scheduled working days.
On Wednesday 27th January 2011, Chinese President Hu Jintao and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China watched a New Year military gala in Beijing. Celebrations will continue for the next two weeks.
In Japan, a series of celebrations are planned for Yokohama Chinatown. Over 4000 fortune blessing flags and Lion Dance lanterns will illuminate the streets and the Symbolic Tree of Yamashitacho Park will be decorated with illuminations.
In addition, “Gorakuhyouen” temple concerts will be held in Yamashitacho Park on the 5th, 11th, 12th, and 13th of February and will consist of two sessions each. The concerts will include; the Lion Dance, the Dragon Dance, female Chinese vocal artists, Chinese classical instruments and other theatrical acts.
The highlight of the Yokohama Spring Festival is the parade of “shukumaiyukou”, which will be performed on 6th February 2011 from 2pm. The finale of the festival is marked with the candle light service in the sacred temple of Guan Di Miao and Ma Zhu Miao on 17th February 2011 from 5:30pm. 250 candles are placed in each temple. Messages are written on these candles, to ask for the blessings of a good harvest, peace, and happiness in the New Year. The ceremony also features Chinese spiritual dance performances.