Despite the rain, there was no shortage of spectators at the Chinese New Year celebrations which took place yesterday on the streets in and around central London’s busy Chinatown. The atmosphere was lively and colourful as thousands turned up to bring in the Year of the Snake and watch the vibrant parade which featured performances from renowned singers, dancers and musicians.
Unlike the 1st of January, The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, starts on the first day of the lunar month and continues for fifteen days which is when the moon is the brightest. It is celebrated in many countries across the globe by local Chinese communities and is one of the oldest and most significant festivals of the Chinese population.It is considered to be a major holiday in China, a time when Chinese families get together for customary traditions, parties and present giving and a time for superstitions and the large traditional annual dinner.
But more importantly, it is the busiest time to travel in the year with planes and trains packed with people travelling around the country just to reunite with loved ones. As the most populated country in the world (137/km2), it is not surprising that over 200 million Chinese people travel by train during the New Year’s holiday weekend, many of whom opt for standing-only tickets and have to endure painfully long and gruelling journeys just to save money on their way home.
Some entrepreneurial Chinese people have even attempted to come up with ways to combat the discomfort during the New Year travel and this year all sorts of bizarre travel tips and innovations have sprung up across many Chinese microblogs suggesting ideas to make the ride home more comfy (or even bearable).
Among the most talked-about, these caught our eye:"The Hard Seat Treasure" or "Body Supporter"
It is essentially a padded metal pole to stopped you from falling out of your seat when you doze off.
The "Mask Pillow"
This octpus head shaped balaclava gives you all the cushioning you need to fall asleep on the move.
A "Rubber Chicken"
Alerts fellow travellers of your presence so that they swiftly move out of your way. May even be useful on the London Underground.
The "Mobile Toilet"
A gel filled bag that absorbed bodily liquids when poured into it. OK so no privacy here, but at least you "Don't hold it anymore" when you really got to go.
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