Xīn Nián Kuàilé!
Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is celebrated for most of the month of February. The girls and Chris are off school and work February 9th - 15th. This is the biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese, and most spend this week with their families. For many migrant workers, the trip can take them a week of travel each way. It also may be the only time they see their wives and children all year. Chris said they expect many of their current workers on the Shanghai Disney construction site will not return after the holiday - this is very common - but a headache for the Disney managers.
The stores are packed with packaged gifts for people to take back home. Since there is often long journey, the most popular gifts are individually wrapped candies, nuts and dried fruits. Yesterday at Carrefore, big boxes of Ferrari-Rocher candy were loaded into carts as fast as the workers could get them on the display.
The store was also filled with lots of traditional and non-traditional decorations for New Year. Of course I bought some! We now have a "Double Fish"hanging from our front door - the symbol for ample food and abundance. Also two hangings of red coin purses, with the symbol of "Fu" or wealth, and strung with gold drums (the sound to ward off bad luck), and gold coins (to bring good luck). The tradition of giving red envelopes, or "lucky money" to those who have helped you through-out the year shows gratitude. I am officially going native.
Shanghai Daily (Expat newspaper) warned of travel congestion during the month of February. Lots of people on the roads, extra buses running and probably more accidents and traffic. So we are staying in Shanghai during the break and will possibly do some easy day tours.
The additional road travel will also cause added air pollution. Shanghai is known to have poor air quality, and sometimes it is actually hazardous. We have (4) air purifiers in our house that run all day - one downstairs and one in each bedroom. Chris has changed the air filters in them and it's pretty disgusting.