Today marks the beginning of a new year for Chinese people. And the year of the Rat ends and the Year of the Ox begins. Ringing in the year of the Ox will be a largely virtual event this time around.
The Chinese years came about because there is a mytical cross river race. In that race for instance the Ox arrived first but the rat sneaked off the Ox’s Back and scurried across to win.
The Chinese New Year is usually crowned with parades, dragons, beautiful costumes and fire-crackers that are exciting to watch.
Festivities for the holiday, are muted to curb and urged the public to avoid huge gatherings following the corona virus outbreak.
Elsewhere in China, Buddhist and Daoist temples that are usually packed with holiday worshippers were closed for the same reason. An major Streets in in big cities were virtually empty.
According to the Commerce Ministry, it found 48 million more people in Chinese major cities planned to celebrate where they live rather than to travel.
Departures from Beijing’s two major airports (capital international airport and Nanyuan airport) were also down 75 percent from last year on Wednesday, the Chinese government said.
The government’s appeal to the public to avoid travel is denting spending on tourism and gifts. However economists say the overall impact might be limited if factories and shops keep operating rather not taking their usual break.