Yesterday marked the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. All over the world people said goodbye to the Year of the Dragon and welcomed the Year of the Snake.
According to the Chinese calendar, which is based on moon phases and the timing of the solar year, this is the year 4711. Celebrations will now continue for the next 15 days, with each day having a different theme and message. The Year of the Snake marks the arrival of the water snake, which ancient Chinese astrology says is a powerful sign that is associated with the notion of Karma.
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year for much of Asia. An estimated 200 million people travelled back home in China to be with their families during the holiday – the biggest mass human migration on earth, according to the BBC.
In Beijing people braved freezing temperatures in order to let off fireworks and firecrackers. Residents set off fireworks all over the city even though there was a plea from the government to set off fewer fireworks to help cope with Beijing’s pollution problems. "People won't not set them off because of pollution. It's the custom,” said local business owner, Lao Guo.
There are a lot of superstitions that run alongside the holiday celebrations, for example, if you cry on New Year’s Day the Chinese believe you will cry for the rest of the year. People also believe that if you tidy up or clean on New Year’s Day you will sweep away your good fortune and wash away your luck.
People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be wise, charming and romantic according to Chinese zodiacs.