Chinese mark end of holiday

AFP-JIJI

As millions of migrant workers flowed back to cities and smog blanketed a large part of China, the nation Sunday celebrated the traditional Lantern Festival with fireworks and food.

The Lantern Festival formally marks the end of celebrations for the Chinese Lunar New Year period, 15 days after it began, and is celebrated by viewing lanterns and setting off fireworks.

The Ministry of Railways estimated that over 6 million people would travel by train on Sunday.

Many of China’s migrant workers living in rural areas delay their return to their workplaces beyond the official public holiday, which lasts only a week.

Air pollution in Beijing spiked Sunday as more traffic and fireworks caused smog, China Central Television reported, as local officials urged people to limit the amount of fireworks they set off.

Outside Beijing in Yuxian, a rural part of Hebei Province, residents marked the festival by holding a parade with a dragon dance and releasing red paper lanterns like small hot-air balloons into the sky.