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Spring Festival reunion tradition carries on in China


10:31, February 10, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Although Chinese people traditionally celebrate the start of a new lunar year during Spring Festival, the holiday serves more of an occasion to refresh family bond.

Chinese families are typically closely knit. Confucian principles call for children to remain close to their parents, even during adulthood.

But in modern China, more young people are working and settling down in cities far from home. Beijing had 7.7 million migrant residents as of the end of 2012, and many of them are the only children in their families.

Like millions of others, Cao Yang, a white-collar worker in Beijing, can only rely on the phone to connect with this family for most of the year. His home in east China's Jiangsu Province is 1,160 km away from Beijing.

After carefully weighing the choices on a gift list for his parents, Cao finally went to a shiny shopping mall, picking out a jacket for his father and a sweater for his mother.

The young man graduated from university and moved to Beijing last year, making this the first year that he has been able to earn enough cash to get them gifts.

"When I was a boy, my parents always bought me gifts for Spring Festival, although we didn't have much money then," Cao said.

"I want to give them something good. They are very frugal," he said. Cold wind at night made him a little bit stutter.

Cao said he seldom went shopping for himself as "they are usually expensive." The gifts cost him some 1,000 yuan (159 U.S. dollars), nearly one third of his monthly salary.

Cao said he hates traveling during Spring Festival, as it is usually very crowded. Trains are one of the most common modes of long-distance travel in China, and the train cars are almost always packed to the gills during the holiday.

"But it's Spring Festival. My parents are waiting for me," said Cao.

It is lucky for Cao and millions of others to get reunited with parents at home. But for a man surnamed Shi, sweet family reunion may not necessarily need a decent home.

Shi had his first child with his wife last year in Foshan, a city in south China's Guangdong Province, where they rent a 20-square-meter room near the place he works.

During Spring Festival, Shi got reunited with his parents, who traveled to Foshan from central China's Hubei province to see the child.

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