Charming Shanghai is a tourist’s delight with its unending energy and enchanting traditional charm. A good time to visit this city would be during the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring festival. Though travel guides may advise you not to travel during this time, what better way is there to experience the true spirit of Shanghai than the Chinese New Year when the city comes alive with a fifteen day long extravaganza?
Yes, the scene will be chaotic with lots of people travelling to their families in Shanghai and lots travelling out of China on one hand and a wave of visitors arriving at Shanghai just to see the New Year celebrations on the other. But if you want to see the real face of Shanghai with its love for culture, this is the best time to be here.
Chinese New Year at Carrefour
Photo by Augapfel, on Flickr
Chinese New Year 2013 (CNY 2013) will be on February 10th and the festival will be celebrated for 15 days. Since lots of people travel to China to be with their families or just to be a part of this festival, it is important to book your flights to Shanghai for CNY 2013 and your accommodation well in advance.
CNY 2013 in Shanghai- What to do?
- Shop to your heart’s content. If you are lucky enough to land in Shanghai before the CNY starts, make a trip (or many trips if you are serious about your shopping) to Nanjing road and plunge into the shopping opportunities available here. For locals, this is the best time to purchase household needs, new clothes and gifts. Even if you don’t want to shop, just watching the festive decorations and lighting will be a great experience.
- Visit Longhua Temple. This temple, built over 1800 years back, has been a symbol of CNY in Shanghai for many decades. On the eve of New Year, people gather at the temple to witness the ringing of the bronze bell here. The bell is struck 108 times; this number is believed to bring luck and drive out evil. Wait till the bell ceremony is over; you may also get a chance to ring the bell.
- Make a trip to the City God Temple. This is where most locals go to pray for a prosperous New Year. The temple with its colorful decorations, enthusiastic people and happening surroundings is a charming place to visit.
- Freak out with fireworks. Watch the skies burst into colors at the dawn of the New Year. The loud noise of the crackers is said to drive away evil; to be frank, it can drive us mad too at times. This spectacle is impressive and is sure to make your holiday memorable.
- Taste Spring Festival specialties. Dumplings called Jiaozi and Tangyuan are Chinese specialties that are must-eats during the CNY. Try the Yang’s Fry dumplings or Wang Jia She Confectionary for authentic specialty dishes. Several restaurants also come out with special offers for CNY. This is your time to indulge.
- Watch a dazzling lantern parade. The last day of the CNY is celebrated as lantern festival. Make your way to Yu Yuan Old Town Bazaar to watch the grand ceremony done the traditional way.
This marks the finale of the 15 day CNY celebrations, but the memories of this colorful event last a lifetime.