China’s Spring Festival sees hundreds of millions traveling the country. As part of our Voices series, ordinary people in Beijing, Guangdong, Nanjing, and Tianjin add their thoughts on the hustle and bustle of New Year’s travel.


“Of course it’s not crowded here. This is for the fast train, so there aren’t many people here, most Chinese cannot afford the price of the ticket.”   –Young woman, Beijing South Railway Station, Beijing 2/3/2010
“I’m not a ticket scalper. Look, here is my university ID. See, you can trust me. I just changed my mind about going to Nanjing. These tickets are for the fast train, so you can’t buy them elsewhere. Here, just take them and get going.”  –Young man, selling tickets in the Wudaokou District, Beijing 2/1/2010
“It’s a tiger. This is the year of the tiger. Many Chinese families will put this little tiger by the doorway to welcome good fortune. But you have to make sure his ears are up.”   –Mrs. Sun, University Professor, Qingdao, Shandong Province 1/28/2010
“Of course I’m heading home for the Spring Festival. I work out in Lanzhou, I work in finance – you know, making money. My boss only gave me three days off work for the holiday, so I had to take a plane home.”   –Young man, Guangzhou Airport Terminal, Guanghzou, Guangdong Province 2/8/2010
“Foshan is going to be empty this time of year. Everyone is leaving to go home for the Spring Festival.”   –Taxi Driver, outside Foshan City Bus Station, Foshan, Guangdong Province 2/8/2010
“It’s actually Shenzhen that is becoming a large city with no people. If you went to Shenzhen right now it would be empty, no people! Foshan has lots and lots of people coming home for the Spring Festival. Our local ancestor temple, quite small, had 100,000 people visiting recently to pray. Imagine 100,000 people at once inside that small place. It was fun!”  –Mr. Zhu, Director, Foshan Museum Research Bureau, Foshan, Guangdong Province 2/8/2010
“During Spring Festival Chinese people only want to buy brand new things. Here they especially buy flowers, fish and other animals. Here for example (indicating a piece of ‘jade’ with a bat carving), this is useful for good fortune. With the bat and the shape of the stone they hope it can bring them more money. Everything is about good fortune. Each place, you see, has different traditions. People in the north do certain things, and we in the south do our own. These are special in the south [indicating fruit trees]. They don’t have this tradition in the north, in Beijing, because it’s too cold.”    –Mr. Zhang, small shop merchant selling antiques, Foshan, Guangdong Province 2/12/2010
“People in Foshan and Guangdong all like to eat a lot of different things, particularly pigs – really big pigs. But what is most important is that the family will eat together in the large setting. This is most important.”   –Young  waitress at a small dumpling shop, Foshan, Guangdong Province 2/12/2010
“Yes, I was able to spend last night [Feb. 13th] with my family. But no, we didn’t watch the big Gala on CCTV-1; there are just too many people in my family, the house was very, very crowded. It was fun, but today I have to work.”    –Taxi Driver, Foshan, Guangdong Province 2/14/2010
“For New Year’s my family and I traveled to Tianhe in Jiangxi Province. It was fun. Of course we flew; we wouldn’t dare take the trains. That’s no good this time of year.”   –Taxi Driver, Qingdao, Shangdong Province 2/14/2010