As the start of the Year of the Rabbit draws closer, a number of significant changes have taken place in China. Most notably the 'dynamic zero' COVID policy has been rapidly phased out, marking the start of the country's reopening to the world. On January 8 all quarantine restrictions were removed on those entering from abroad and a relaxation of visa policies emerged, with reports of new business visas being issued at a number of Chinese Embassies in various countries.
The Year of the Rabbit is the fourth year of the Chinese zodiac's 12-year cycle. This year, the first day of Spring Festival, known as danian chuyi (大年初一) in Chinese, falls on January 22. At midnight, the Year of the Tiger will come to a close and the Year of the Rabbit will begin.
As is the annual tradition in China, the eve of the new year (known as danian sanshi, 大年三十) sees the sounds of countless fireworks fill the air, from the smallest rural villages to the largest cities in the nation. According to Chinese folklore, the loud noises produced are an effective way to intimidate Nian (年兽), a terrifying mythological beast that emerges from its hiding place on this day to feed.
It is widely believed that the Chinese zodiac sign under which one is born has a strong influence on individual personality and character traits. Those who are born under the sign of the rabbit are believed to be gentle, quick-witted and skillful.
As one of the luckiest of the zodiac animals, rabbits have featured widely in Chinese art and literature. For example, in the classic 16th century novel Journey to the West (西游记), the Jade Rabbit (玉兔) was a central character, being the famous pet of Chang'e (嫦娥), goddess of the moon.
For people all over China, Spring Festival is one of the most important times of the year during which families will come together, no matter how far apart from one another they may live. This year will have special significance for many, as the country recovers after three long years of the pandemic during which time such reunions were often complicated or not possible. It marks the start of a new era for Kunming, welcoming guests from all over the country and the world.
Known as the Spring City thanks to its wonderfully mild weather throughout the year, Kunming is home to some fantastic visitor attractions such as the Stone Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as Jiaozi Snow Mountain, the Western Hills and Dianchi Lake. The city also serves as a great base from which to access the many highlights throughout the province of Yunnan, including the world-famous historic towns of Lijiang and Dali.
We wish you a wonderful Year of the Rabbit and very much look forward to welcoming you to the Spring City soon. Happy New Year!