Home Latest News China rings in Lunar New 12 months with most COVID guidelines lifted

China rings in Lunar New 12 months with most COVID guidelines lifted



BEIJING — Individuals throughout China rang within the Lunar New 12 months on Sunday with massive household gatherings and crowds visiting temples after the federal government lifted its strict “zero-COVID” coverage, marking the largest festive celebration because the pandemic started three years in the past.

The Lunar New 12 months is crucial annual vacation in China. Annually is known as after one of many 12 indicators of the Chinese language zodiac in a repeating cycle, with this yr being the 12 months of the Rabbit. For the previous three years, celebrations had been muted within the shadow of the pandemic.

With the easing of most COVID-19 restrictions, many individuals may lastly make their first journey again to their hometowns to reunite with their households with out worrying concerning the hassles of quarantine, potential lockdowns and suspension of journey. Bigger public celebrations additionally returned for what is called the Spring Pageant in China, with the capital internet hosting hundreds of cultural occasions — on a bigger scale than a yr in the past.

The mass motion of individuals could trigger the virus to unfold in sure areas, mentioned Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at China’s Heart for Illness Management. However a large-scale COVID-19 surge will probably be unlikely within the subsequent two or three months as a result of about 80% of the nation’s 1.four billion folks have been contaminated in the course of the current wave, he wrote on the social media platform Weibo on Saturday.

In Beijing, many worshippers provided morning prayers on the Lama Temple however the crowds seemed to be smaller in comparison with pre-pandemic days. The Tibetan Buddhist website permits as much as 60,000 guests a day, citing security causes, and requires an advance reservation.

At Taoranting Park, there was no signal of the standard bustling New 12 months meals stalls regardless of its walkways being embellished with conventional Chinese language lanterns. A well-liked temple truthful at Badachu Park will probably be again this week, however comparable occasions at Ditan Park and Longtan Lake Park have but to return.

In Hong Kong, revelers flocked to the town’s largest Taoist temple, Wong Tai Sin Temple, to burn the primary incense sticks of the yr. The positioning’s in style ritual was suspended the final two years as a result of pandemic.

Historically, huge crowds collect earlier than 11 p.m. on Lunar New 12 months’s Eve, with everybody making an attempt to be the primary, or among the many first, to place their incense sticks into the stands in entrance of the temple’s foremost corridor. Worshippers consider those that are among the many first to put their incense sticks will stand the very best likelihood of getting their prayers answered.

Native resident Freddie Ho, who visited the temple on Saturday evening, was joyful that he may be a part of the occasion in particular person.

“I hope to put the primary incense stick and pray that the New 12 months brings world peace, that Hong Kong’s economic system will prosper, and that the pandemic will go away from us and we will all reside a traditional life,” Ho mentioned. “I consider that is what everybody needs.”

Related Press researcher Henry Hou and video journalist Emily Wang in Beijing and video journalist Alice Fung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

Discover extra of AP’s Asia-Pacific protection at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

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