Want to experience the excitement that the Chinese New Year in Beijing? No time to fly to China? Here’s how to recreate it at home…
What you need:
- One computer
- One internet connection
- Headphones (unless you hate everyone around you)
- Chinese food and some snacks (preferably unhealthy and with red packaging)
- A temple fair (optional)
How to do it:
1. Pick a day to be your own personal Chinese New Year’s Eve.
2. On the day, eat your Chinese food. Eat more food than is strictly necessary, until you’re completely stuffed. Now imagine an elderly Chinese relative telling you that you really don’t eat enough. Eat a couple more snacks just to be polite.
3. Feel in pain from too much food. In China, you’d probably watch the CCTV Spring Gala Show, along with 700 million other people, but try this video instead.
4. Just before midnight wrap up warm – it’s probably -8C at night in Beijing in January.
5. Turn the volume on your computer to maximum.
6. Watch this video on full screen:
7. Watch it again. That was amazing, right? Now imagine it played all over the night sky, non-stop for three hours.
8. Alternatively, watch a few more fireworks videos on YouTube. For added authenticity, open them up in a bunch of tabs so they’re all playing at once.
9. Watch them all again.
10. Keep watching related fireworks videos until about 3am. Still pretty cool! But wait, that was just the first day.
1. At 6am, set this video to come on automatically and wake you up. For added authenticity, nip outside and set off all the car alarms in the street.
2. Listen to it every 15 minutes (don’t forget to set off all the car-alarms each time) until about 11am.
3. Now you only need to listen to it every 30 minutes, until about 4pm.
4. Start listening to it every 10 minutes.
5. Once it gets dark, go back and watch some fireworks videos until midnight. Still quite good fun!
1. At 6am, set this video to come on automatically and wake you up. Once again, for added authenticity, nip outside and set off all the car alarms in the street.
2. Listen to it at least hourly (add your own car alarms). Bonus points for listening to it whilst you’re watching TV, having a conversation or on the telephone.
3. Optional: Visit a temple fair. Mind the crowds.
4. When you get home, listen to some more firecracker videos.
1. You know the drill. Up at 6am for firecrackers. Firecrackers all day. Fireworks until 3am.
2. Optional, but recommended: Drive around a bit. During this period, over half of Beijing’s residents have gone home to see their families in the massive Chun Yun migration. Unlike the rest of the year, the streets can be nearly empty of cars and all the police are on holiday so you can drive around quite enjoyably.
Pro Tip: If you can get hold of a set of non-Beijing number plates you don’t even need to worry about traffic cameras. Alternatively do what many other people do and put brown paper or mud all over your number plates…
1. Blessed relief. No more firecrackers!
2. Not so fast! Up at 6am for firecrackers. Firecrackers all day. Double fireworks until 3am as it’s the last day to legally let off fireworks
3. Don’t drive anywhere today, particularly nowhere near the train stations – people are coming back from the countryside in droves.
1. By now the fireworks shops are selling off their excess stock cheap, so…
2. Throughout the day, whenever you’re concentrating, writing, reading, putting a child to sleep or calming down pets after the last barrage, put on a firecracker video in the background.
3. Reminisce about driving during Chun Yun.
There’s a lot of rubbish in the streets, and usually a few fires
At least once in your life, it’s worth experiencing it for real in a major Chinese city!