søndag 22. januar 2023

Lunar New Year: Chinese families meet for bittersweet reunions

"I'm so looking forward to going home this time," says Sandy Bai. "I'm grateful that I'll be able to see my whole family." It's been three years since the young communication professional, who lives in Hong Kong, has been home to Shanghai. She last saw her family in 2020 when she visited them over the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, as it's known in China.

That visit happened just before the pandemic was declared - and China's zero-Covid policy in the years since, which required travellers to quarantine for weeks, kept her away from home. With most Covid restrictions now gone, millions of Chinese are traveling home this weekend to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, which falls on Sunday.

But the sudden reversal of zero-Covid has caused a surge in cases in recent weeks, dampening what is the biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese. It's a chance for families to gather and celebrate each other's successes, and regroup for a fresh start. But it will be bittersweet this year. Even as large swathes of China turn festive red - the colour of the Spring Festival - it's hard to miss the white, the sign of a household in mourning.