What will the new year bring for China & Asia?

4 males in conventional yellow costumes bang massive drums to announce the beginning of the New 12 months’s Eve banquet. Contained in the assembly corridor, 100 tables are every set with a dozen plates bearing sausages, nuts and fruit.

Sitting in a storage shed outdoors are hundreds of half-moon-shaped dumplings, made by hand the day earlier than, able to be boiled and served.

Villages and cities throughout China are getting ready this weekend to have fun Chinese language New 12 months, or Lunar New 12 months, one of many nation’s most vital holidays. Few feasts are as elaborate as this one in Liuminying, a village close to the capital metropolis of Beijing.

The Lunar New 12 months is mostly celebrated in late January or early February, with the precise date drawn from an historical Chinese language calendar that makes use of the phases of the moon to maintain monitor of time. The calendar is noticed in 12-year cycles, with annually named after an animal. Saturday marks the start of the 12 months of the Rooster.

Festivities lately have been extra muted as China’s financial system has slowed down. However in Liuminying, what started as a small lunch sponsored by the native Communist Social gathering department in 1980 has grown right into a feast that served 1,000 folks this yr throughout a three-hour spectacle with singing and dancing.

The present started at 10 a.m. with loud music and applause. A bunch of youngsters waved pom-poms in a synchronized dance, adopted by a raffle, the presentation of a giant banner commemorating the New 12 months, and several other different songs and speeches.

Because the performances grew longer, the attendees began to peel oranges and crack open nuts.

Outdoors, dozens of employees have been getting ready meat and vegetable stews in enormous grills. One employee pushed coal beneath a number of of the grills, inflicting massive flames to come back bursting out.

Just a few hours after the doorways opened, the primary dishes have been introduced inside. The plastic wrap got here off most of the plates on the desk. Diners uncorked wine bottles and, at just a few tables, opened crimson bins positioned on the heart. Inside have been clear bottles of the Chinese language alcoholic beverage referred to as baijiu, handed round for a collection of toasts.