Chinese people toast for a better Year of the Rabbit

A girl displays "bunny dolls" at the Spring Festival cultural temple fair held in Ditan Park, Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 2, 2011. Variety of goods related to bunny are well received by visitors at temple fairs kicked off in Beijing on Wednesday, the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaogen)

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — From dumplings in the north and rice cakes in the south, people across China Wednesday overloaded their tables with holiday foods, cheering for the Spring Festival family reunion and praying for a better life in the coming Year of Rabbit.

In a remote village in Guizhou Province, villagers were sharing millet cakes and preserved pork as sunshine dispelled cold and sleet, which have plagued China’s southwest for a month.

“This year’s Spring Festival is especially cheerful, since our dream of a new home has come true,” said villager Zhang Jiuyun.

Zhang’s home was severely damaged in the snow and sleet disaster, but with the help of local villagers and funds from the government, Zhang built a larger house without spending much money.

The Spring Festival is also an important occasion for migrant workers to enjoy family reunions after toiling for higher incomes in wealthy coastal provinces for a year.

“I’ve brought back red wine and cookies imported from Italy as gifts for my parents,” said Ding Zhenghe, a Shenzhen-based factory owner who has worked his way up from a migrant worker.

But Ding said, after years in the modern city, he still yearns for the the food cooked by his mother in the rural home.

The Spring Festival, which falls on Thursday, also marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. It is a time for family dinners, gift giving and fireworks.

Nangkun Tashi, a villager in the earthquake-hit Yushu, northwest China’s Qinghai Province, celebrated the first Lunar New Year after the disaster with traditional Tibetan food, such as mutton and butter tea.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Yushu in April 2010, killing about 2,200 people and leaving Tashi’s village in ruins.

Tashi’s family narrowly survived the quake, and have recently moved into a new home, which was provided by the local government two months before.

In Zhouqu County, Gansu Province, 990 tons of grains have been delivered to the 473 survivors, who now lived in temporary housing after a massive landslide leveled the county, leaving over 1,500 people dead in August.

“We are able to hold a celebration, even though we’ve lost everything in the landslide,” said local resident Yao Shelin.

“We’ve received flour, cooking oil, and even the wok is a donation,” said Yao.  (*)



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