It's the year of the Rabbit!
Spring Festival. It takes place in late January or early February, this year it's February 3. Don't ask me why an event that takes place in the dead of winter is called Spring Festival, but they have a way with words here. Kind of like calling massive starvation The Great Leap Forward. (oh wait, they did that!) Anyway, Americans call it Chinese New Year, which it also is, but they prefer that Spring name instead.
Kids are out of school now, although they have lots of homework to ensure that they be somewhat miserable during the holiday, since enduring hardship is integral to the Chinese character. This is also the time of perhaps the largest mass exodus in the world, where hundreds of millions of people take to the roads, railroads, and skies to get back to their loved ones. I've taken a bus to and from Guangzhou during this time and it was a long, slow journey broken up by stops at incredibly crowded bus comfort stations that made me feel like I was part of the population trying to flee Shanghai ahead of the Japanese invasion.
Firecrackers are already going off here and there and once again I am grateful that they don't allow the people to have Glocks.
It's been pretty cold since Christmas, with temperatures mostly in the 50's and dropping down to the 40's at night. It looks like it's supposed to warm up, though. Winter lasts about 6 weeks here, so I think I'll hold off buying any new warm clothes.