Beijing: China Monday welcomed its Lunar New Year or the Year of the Dragon with celebrations across the country.
The day marks the end of the winter in China. It is also celebrated as Spring Festival as it ushers in the spring season.
On this day, the Chinese, rich or poor, dine and celebrate together.
Villagers who were relocated to Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan province due to a river water diversion project, had their festival feasts paid for by the government.
About 330,000 people were re-settled in different areas due to the project, which aims to bring water to drought-prone northern regions, including Beijing.
In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, sanitation workers who chose to stay on duty rather than be with their families during the festival ended up dining with the mayor.
"I`d like to thank you for a year`s hard work that has kept the city beautiful," said Tang Liangzhi, mayor of Wuhan, at a banquet for street cleaners, China Daily reported.
The Spring Festival is an important occasion for family reunions in China. This year the spring holidays started Jan 8 and is expected to continue till the mid-week of February.
On Sunday, people bid goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit, final day of the last lunar year.
Chinese President Hu Jintao joined groups of Beijing residents to celebrate the new year festivities. He visited the city`s Qianmen shopping street and waved at passersby who responded with jubilation, repots Xinhua.
The street was rebuilt for the 2008 Olympic Games as a sightseeing and shopping destination. Hu`s tour of the city also took him to a 270-year-old store famous for braised pork. He praised the quality of the products there.
The railways ministry said Monday that over 80 million people travelled by trains in the country between Jan 8 and 22 on account of the new year.
The figure was up by nearly 8 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.
The ministry added 289 more trains to accommodate passengers returning home for the festival.