Chinese New Year is just two days away and people across the country are busy planning how to welcome the Year of the Snake and make the most of Spring Festival. Many Chinese families decorate their homes with auspicious ornaments and paper cuttings to celebrate the most important traditional Chinese festival of the lunar calendar year. In addition to setting off fireworks, most families celebrate Chinese New Year by making dumplings and watching the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. Lu Yun hit the streets this week to find out how people in Beijing - foreigners and Chinese alike - plan to celebrate their Spring Festival in style.
Chris Scott, real estate broker, US
I've lived and worked in Beijing for two years. I know that during Spring Festival Chinese will give hongbao (money-filled red envelopes) to relatives. My last company used to give me a hongbao when I worked here. To celebrate Spring Festival, I used to set off firecrackers and make dumplings with my Chinese friends. I remember we went to the top of Pangu Plaza at midnight to watch fireworks and set off some ourselves. Beijing normally has too many cars and is just too crowded, so it's really nice to have empty streets during the holiday to relax a little bit.
Alex Clem, English teacher, US
I have some friends coming to Beijing, so we will do some sightseeing at the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and other places. I hope to see fireworks on Chinese New Year's Eve.
Bhabna Arumu (l) & Chloe Bristow (r), students, Australia,
We are staying for Chinese New Year's Eve, which is the basic reason why we are here. We expect to see fireworks on that day and night and get together with lots of people on the streets. During the rest of the holiday, we'll go sightseeing to places such as the Forbidden City.
Tang Cheng, security guard, China
This marks the end of my first year in Beijing. I plan to go back to my hometown of Zhangjiakou [in Hebei Province] for Spring Festival, but I'm not sure if my boss will grant me leave. I will do some shopping to bring back gifts for my family. During the holiday, we normally have something nice to eat and drink. The important thing for us as a family is having everyone together.
Liu Gang, sanitation worker, China
I haven't been back to my hometown in Heilongjiang Province for two years - not for Spring Festival and not even to visit. My family thinks of me all the time, but I have to work to support them. The good thing is that I can make twice my regular pay by working during Spring Festival, however there will be more work because of all the fireworks debris. I do two shifts daily; one starting at 5:30 am and the other at 9 pm. I haven't had a day off work for almost 40 days. I don't have time to watch the CCTV Spring Festival Gala or partake in other celebrations.
Ma Chao, interior designer, China
I bought tickets for my parents to fly from Heilongjiang Province to Beijing to celebrate Spring Festival here. I will probably take them to the temple fair at Ditan Park. I don't want to go back to Heilongjiang since it's too cold this time of year and there's little we can do during the holiday. In the future, I'd like to travel with my parents during Spring Festival and maybe even buy a house for them somewhere like Qingdao [in Shandong Province].