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Nanjing Chinese New Year 2010

  • Written by Jimmy Olsen
The 2010 Chinese Spring Festival falls on Sunday February 14. Most people will likely get a holiday from Sat. Feb. 13 to Fri. Feb. 19th, and then be back to work on the 20th. HelloNanjing reports on what to expect locally, during the holiday. {xtypo_dropcap}D{/xtypo_dropcap}uring the week of Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, you can expect Nanjing to become a spooky ghost town. Most local workers will enjoy the full week off, meaning that offices and factories will be closed, while banks will have limited hours if any at all. Many of the expat places (Secco, My Place, etc) will also close up for the week, although you can expect heaps of Chinese restaurants and also tourist attractions to be doing healthy business.

While many students will head back to their hometowns for the week, many Nanjing-ren typically stay in with their families and overdose on food, drink, television, and computer games. Those that wish a quick getaway also have options.

Easy getaways from Nanjing

1. Tang Shan hot spring: located 30km south of the city (40 minutes by car), this resort area is famed for the restorative power of its hot springs. In this forum thread, HN user Bjoern summarizes: "It costs 130 RMB for a day and you can relax in different pools, spend time in the sauna, with a massage etc. You don't have to bring anything although your own bathing clothes will look nicer. You can even have a beer in the pools while watching girls. Tea, soft drinks and cigarettes are included in the entrance fee. The quality of the resort is higher than you will expect."

2. Yangzhou city: Jiangsu Province is one of the wealthiest in China, and a lot of that cash has been pumped into Yangzhou to preserve its many historical sites, including the 1,500-year-old Daming Temple and an 'old town' with well-preserved houses and laneways. In addition, great care has been taken to maintain Shou Xihu, or Slim West Lake, a narrow twisting lake of spectacular natural beauty.

3. Changzhou: located around 200km south of Nanjing (1 hour by train), this town of 600,000 features one of China's largest Zen Buddhist temples, the world's tallent pagoda, and the Changzhou International Dinosaur City. For expats, none of these attractions will particularly impress, but if you're bored and looking for an easy trip out of town, two days in Changzhou might suffice.

4. Wuhu Fangte Amusement Park: located in Wuhu (1.5 hours by car southwest of Nanjing), this is the largest amusement park in China. It contains 15 unique attractions, including a 3D film imitating space flight, 4D dinosaur movies, a freefall ride that pluges 37 meters and reaches 80kph, and a boat ride simulation featuring choppy water and vomit-inducing waves. During Spring Festival the place will be packed, but if you're willing, it costs 170RMB for adults, and 120RMB for children, although infants and the elderly (with valid ID card) may gain entry for free. 

Travel anywhere in China during the Spring Festival can be hellacious: expect packed trains, spiked hotel prices, and massive crowds. For example, during the 2009 holiday, 5 millions tourists visited Yunnan during that week.

What to do in Nanjing


According to city rules, fireworks will be allowed in the city all day on 4 days (Feb. 13, 14, 18, 28) and during limited times (12pm to 10pm) on other days. If you're looking to enjoy some fireworks action during the new year, HN user msb suggests the following, in this forum post: Where to buy fireworks: fireworks sales are monopilized by municipal suppliers that distribute to large supermarkets and also stores that have a special licenses to distribute goods that meet national safety and quality standards. Of course, illegal vendors will also be out in full force, although the danger with their goods is that lack of safety or quality standards.
Fireworks are banned around the following:

1. Protected cultural zones
2. Stations, docks, and other transportation hubs
3. Storage units containing flammable products
4. Power transmission facilities
5. Medical institutions, public schools, homes for the elderly
6. Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum area, and all forest and grassland areas at risk of fires
7. Other: all underground spaces, both sides of Confucious Temple Square, Xinjiekou commercial street, Hunan Road commercial street, outdoor parking areas, and all construction sites.

Temple prayer

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Wanna lie in the fetal position all week in your undies with DVDs? Check out the DVDs to recommend/avoid thread in the forums. {/typography}Jiming Temple, Xixia Temple and Pilu Temple are popular choices among the locals. All of these temples should be open late on the 14th in order to ring in the New Year with a bell-bashing activity.

Other activities

Other popular actvities for Nanjing-ren include making dumplings, watching the Spring Festival Ceremony on TV, meeting with relatives, and exchanging gifts (while the kiddies can look forward to money from the grandparents).

Spring Festival: food and gifts

In the old days, food was scarce in China, and Spring Festival was one of the only times when food was in abundance. So, food used to be a big part of the celebration. However, these days, food is everywhere.

Even so, for most Chinese people, enjoying food and receiving gifts are two of the greatest pleasures of the season.

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