The Chinese Lunar calendar follows a 12 year cycle and each of the 12 years is represented by 12 Animals which form the Chinese Zodiac. The animals in the Chinese Zodiac or the animals which constitute the Chinese calendar are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day.
New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
What to Expect
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese Calendar. The Chinese year 4711 begins on February 10, 2013.
Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality.
2013 marks the year of the SNAKE.
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits. In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each others homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve.
The Lantern Festival falls on the final, or fifteenth day. This marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations and heralds a party under the full moon. It’s another reason for families to get together and it’s fun, especially for children, as traditionally they make paper lanterns to illuminate and march under the full moon. Sometimes there are competitions to see who has the most beautifully decorated lantern and often a theme is designated by the city or village.
DATES Throughout February 2013 - 11 days from £1995.00 per person
HIGHLIGHTS 11 days – 9 nights
Collection from UK home and transfer to Heathrow Services of experienced Tour Manager Excursions, tours and security charges are included
Day 1 London - In flight
We begin with a collection from your home( UK based only) to London Heathrow for your direct scheduled overnight British Airways flight to Beijing.
Day 2 Beijing
We arrive into Beijing and transfer to the 4 star Holiday Inn Downtown Hotel or similar for your four-night stay.
Rest of the day is free before our included dinner.
Day 3 Beijing - Forbidden City
This morning we explore the incredible Forbidden City, a complex of imperial palaces that were home to the Ming and Qing emperors for over 500 years, and today is one of Beijing’s most impressive sights. Also known as the Palace Museum, it sits at the north end of Tian’anmen Square and is the worlds’ largest palace complex housing numerous rare treasures and intricate architecture.
After an included lunch you have the afternoon free to relax or to explore.
Day 4 Happy New Year
After breakfast we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Summer Palace, which has a variety of palaces, gardens and other classical-style architectural structures.
After an included lunch we continue to the New Year’s fairs at the local temples with plenty of free time to explore at leisure.
Day 5 Beijing - Great Wall
Depart your hotel for a full day visit to the Great Wall of China, perhaps the most famous of China’s many sights and a must for any visit to the country. We visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall, some 70 kilometres from Beijing set at the highest point of the north end of the Guan’gou gorge in which Juyongguan Pass lies. One must see it first hand to truly appreciate the sheer scale of the wall.
Lunch is included today, and we continue to the site of the Ming Tombs where we stroll along the Sacred Way, lined with animals and human statues, and visit the mausoleum of Changling, the tomb of emperor Zhu Di.
We return to Beijing and this evening enjoy a special Peking duck dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6 Beijing - Xi'an
Today we transfer to Beijing Airport for our flight to Xi’an and the Jianguo Hotel for your two-night stay.
This afternoon we head for the local village of Nan Suo to join in the New Year celebrations and enjoy an included dinner. Chinese lion dancers and local musicians will perform in an evening where, it is tradition to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
Day 7 Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
After breakfast we take a guided tour of the impressive Terracotta Museum, where life-sized infantrymen guard the tomb of the first Qin emperor. With excavation work continuing it is speculated that even more treasures are yet to be uncovered. The museum covers an enormous area, the life-sized warriors, each with an individual crafted head and face, and the horses arranged in battle formations being the star features. Altogether there are more than 7000 pieces.
After an included lunch we return to the city for a visit to the Big Wild Goose pagoda. A simple yet appealing construction and a holy place for Buddhists, the pagoda stands nearly 65 metres in height and affords panoramic views over the city for those energetic enough to climb to the top.
To complete the day we visit the Grand Mosque, the oldest and one of the most renowned mosques in China.
Day 8 Xi'an - Shanghai
We transfer to the airport this morning for our flight to Shanghai, a city that showcases the ‘new’ China more than any other.
After an included lunch we enjoy a city tour covering the old town, the attractive Yu Gardens, Nanjing Road, and the famous Bund area. The Bund has been regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years and is a waterfront avenue lined with buildings in Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque and Renaissance style.
We check in at the 4 star Anting Villa Hotel for our three-night stay.
Day 9 Suzhou - Grand Canal
Today we leave the Shanghai for the beautiful waterside city of Suzhou and visit the Garden of Humble Administration, covering approximately 52,000 sq. meters it is the largest and most renowned. Listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, it is considered as one of China’s four most famous gardens due to its unique designs and ethereal beauty.
We have an included lunch, followed by a short cruise on the Grand Canal, the longest man-made waterway as well as being the greatest in ancient China. We enjoy a panoramic view of the landscape of typical river towns in southern China. We take a walk along the old street market and visit a silk factory.
Day 10 Shanghai
Today is at leisure to relax and perhaps do some last minute shopping in many of Shanghai’s incredible malls or cross the river to the ultra-modern Pudong area with the Oriental Pearl Tower at its heart.
This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.
Day 11 Shanghai - London
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our return British Airways flight direct to London Heathrow.
On arrival staff will greet you and transfer you to your transport for your journey home to your own front door.
THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY – WE CAN TAILOR MAKE A HOLIDAY TO SUIT YOUR REQUIREMENTS