China welcomes Year of Ox

January 25th, 2009 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 25 (DPA) China ushered in the traditional lunar Year of the Ox with a massive fireworks display Sunday night in its capital Beijing.China’s transportation authorities reported an increase of more than 20 percent in train passengers within the last three days, compared with last year. Over the 40-day holiday period, 2.32 billion people - five percent more than in 2008 - are expected to travel.

The ox is the second of the 12 Chinese animal zodiac signs that operate in a 12-year cycle, and is said to represent the concepts of patience and constancy.

The New Year’s celebrations however were overshadowed by the global economic crisis and the painful remembrances of the deadly earthquake in the province of Sichuan in 2008.

Premier Wen Jiabao celebrated the new year with earthquake survivors in the village of Wenchuan, the epicentre of the May 12, 2008 quake which is thought to have taken the lives of more than 80,000 people.

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