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Chinese celebrate Lantern Festival nationwide


08:59, February 25, 2013

Performers present Yangge dance, a popular rural Chinese folk dance, at an annual gala occasion to celebrate the traditional Lantern Festival in Yan'an City, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Feb. 24, 2013. Chinese people received the Lantern Festival on Feb. 24, the 15th day of the first lunar month this year. (Xinhua/Liu Xiao)

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- People around the country took part in various activities to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which falls on Sunday, marking the first full moon of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

In the thousand-year-old Pingyao Town in north China's Shanxi Province, people hung lanterns above front doors and set off fireworks to celebrate.

"We traveled from Beijing to Pingyao, and experienced different atmospheres of Lantern Festival celebrations. Pingyao is livelier," said Sarah Brown, an Australian tourist.

"It's easy to get separated from my friends in such busy streets.... we just learnt the charm of the Chinese Lunar New Year," she said.

Zheng Rui enjoyed the local traditional custom performances.8 "My teacher told me to keep writing a diary during the winter vacation, so I watched the performances so I can write about them. The journey will be worthwhile with impressive memories," Zheng said.

Besides eating Yuanxiao, a sweetened dumpling made of glutinous rice flour and stuffed with meat, nuts, fruit or sugar, Zheng, his parents and relatives visited the ancient town walls and government office of the feudal period.

The old town also put on a variety of performances, including the "dragon lantern dance," the "lion dance," stilt-walking and Pingyao operas.

In northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Library prepared more than 1,000 Chinese puzzles and 300 puzzles for minority residents.

Humanitarians from the Communist Party of China, governments, army, schools and enterprises of Xinjiang took part in charity performances and a bazaar to help people in need and the disabled.

In central China's Henan Province, to reduce air pollution and avoid smog, cities and districts of Zhengzhou, Jiyuan, Zhoukou, Zhumadian and Sanmenxia decided to cancel their fireworks displays.

The government of Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, held cultural, art performances, intangible cultural heritage and large-scale lamp exhibitions in the city's parks.

"It's worthwhile giving up fireworks for fresh air, and I believe citizens understand the cancellation," said Wang Dezhi, a Zhengzhou resident.

"A half-hour fireworks show costs 700,000 yuan (112,000 U.S. dollars). It's a little bit regretful not watching the show, but it's more practical to use the money to improve people's lives, improve education in poor areas and build more public infrastructure," a netizen named "Yinchuanlaoliu" commented on the Internet after learning that Yinchuan City, capital of northwest Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region canceled its fireworks show.

In northeastern Jilin Province, some fireworks sellers said they faced a quiet festival since people were refusing to buy products.

"I only sold one hundred yuan worth of fireworks today. I bought 50,000 yuan worth of fireworks this year, but there are still more than 5,000 yuan worth to sell," said Wang Li, a fireworks shop owner.

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