Chinese celebrate Year of the Dog’s start

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Beijing, Feb 16 (IANS) People across China on Friday celebrated the Spring Festival, the country’s most important occasion for family gatherings, with fireworks, greetings, delicious food and performances on the first day of the Year of the Dog.

It’s a tradition for Beijingers to visit temple fairs during the Lunar New Year holiday, Xinhua news agency reported.

On Friday, the first day of the Year of the Dog in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac, many visited the bustling, crowded fairs in the Chinese capital, enjoying delicacies and handicraft works and watching traditional performances.

“The traditional culture represents ancient people’s aspiration for a good life,” said Peng Lei, 33, who visited the Ditan Park temple fair with his little daughter.

“I want my daughter to see with her own eyes and get to know the root of our culture,” said Peng, who has lived in Beijing for 18 years.

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Some, however, spent the holiday visiting tourist destinations.

On Friday morning, Kong Mingquan and his parents attended the flag-raising ceremony at the Tian’anmen Square in the heart of Beijing.

“I bring my parents to the flag-raising ceremony and pay respect to late Chairman Mao Zedong,” said Kong, a native of northeast China’s Jilin Province now working in Beijing.

At the square, many waved small national flags and posed for photos. They extended new year greetings to each other as the flag was raised to the top of the flagpole.

In Shanghai, a Buddhist temple launched a charity programme to receive children of migrant workers who remain working in the city in the Spring Festival holiday.

In southwest China, Tibetans celebrated the Tibetan New Year, which coincided with the Spring Festival this year, making prayers at monasteries and watching Tibetan opera performances.

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