China celebrating New Year and Winter Olympics with fireworks

 Tuesday, February 1, 2022 

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The Chinese residents throughout the world and the mainland China normally ring in the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year 2022 with fireworks, lanterns, balloons, food, and family time. But this year, the holiday is very different. This year, the COVID-19 protocols are maintaining by Chinese govt. Beijing recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 cases for a year and a half on Sunday, as the Chinese capital gears up to host the Beijing Winter Olympics in five days.

This year, the Chinese are traveling to their own hometowns for the Lunar New Year 2022, the country’s biggest family holiday, despite a government plea to stay where they are as Beijing tries to contain coronavirus outbreaks. Beijing recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases for a year and a half on Sunday, as the Chinese capital gears up to host the Winter Olympics in five days.

The hotels and restaurants in big cities in China are bracing for a rush of guests over the 2022 Lunar New Year as people forced by COVID-19 curbs to give up plans to go home for family re-unions opt instead to stay put and celebrate in other ways.

While Tuesday marked the official beginning of the two-week long Lunar New Year in China and the start of the Year of the Tiger, thousands of locals working and volunteering at the Beijing Olympics are celebrating in a new way.

Due to the Beijing Olympics strict COVID-19 bubble, instead of spending time with family, they are sharing their traditions with scores of foreign athletes, media, and other Olympics personnel locked within the closed loop system alongside them.

In this system, people at the Games are completely restricted from stepping foot outside of designated Olympics spaces. The streets of Beijing, which is out of reach for athletes and other Games personnel, were decorated with Chinese red lanterns and other traditional symbols for the holiday.

Yang Yang, the chairwoman of the Athletes’ Commission of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, said it’s sad many participants, including herself, can’t spend time with families, the dual celebration of the Olympics and Lunar New Year is a unique moment for China.

The organisers of Beijing Olympics made sure to acknowledge the major holiday and the Chinese Lunar New Year traditions in other ways. Décor and symbols of the holiday, like bright red New Year couplets, onto which good wishes are painted, were pasted on doors and walls of hotels and venues.

At the Main Media Center, the central hub for press, volunteers offered passersby the opportunity to paint calligraphy onto traditional diamond shaped New Year couplets known as Fai Chun. The volunteers at the Beijing Fujian Hotel also gave out miniature tiger figurines in honor of 2022 to people staying there.

The cultural celebrations were also being held for athletes in their Olympic villages in the host city, according to Yang. Meals being offered to athletes will include dumplings, a traditional meal during New Year dinners.

The Lunar New Year lasts until February 15, when Chinese organizers said they will also serve sweet rice dumplings with the hope that “guests can experience the Chinese culture on the tip of their tongues.”

The Year of the Tiger is meant to represent strength and bravery. Ideally, these symbols of good luck and strength sprinkled throughout Beijing will spread to the athletes arriving for the start of the Olympics this week. The opening ceremony is set to begin Feb. 4.

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