Celebrating Lunar New Year with Crowds in Houses and Temples in China

China Celebrates Lunar New Year, After Government Lifts ‘Zero Contagion’ Policy

The people of China celebrated the Lunar New Year on Sunday (22.01.2023), with family gatherings and crowds visiting temples, after the government lifted its strict “zero contagion” policy. The Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday in China, and the largest celebration since the pandemic began three years ago.

This year marks the Year of the Rabbit, and for three years, the celebrations have been restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, with the relaxation of the most Covid-19 restrictions, many people were finally able to reunite with their families without the worry of discomfort from the flu.

A large number of cultural events were held in the country’s capital, in a larger scale than that of the year before. This included a Chinese cultural performance in London to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, which was held on 01.22.2023.

According to Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control (CDC), the allowances of large family gatherings could cause the virus to spread to certain areas. However, the chief also stated that a large-scale surge of Covid-19 is unlikely in the next two to three years, as 80% of the country’s 1.4 billion people have contracted the virus recently.

In Beijing, many people prayed in the morning in the Lama temple, but not in the numbers seen pre-pandemic. Visitors are limited to 60,000 for security reasons, and the requirement for advanced reservation is still in effect. Likewise, Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin temple, the city’s largest Taoist temple, had people seeking to burn the first incense sticks of the year, which has been suspended in the past two years due to the pandemic.

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