The CDT New Year’s Gala

China celebrated the start of the Year of the Dragon with the customary televisual extravaganza and barrage of fireworks, as well as a less traditional burst of record-breaking microblog traffic. 481,207 messages were posted to Sina Weibo in the first minute after midnight, the average of 32,312 per second easily beating Twitter’s month-old record of 25,088 tweets per second set during a TV screening in Japan of the Hayao Miyazaki anime, “Castle in the Sky”. There were widespread festivities around the world: Business Insider has compiled a gallery of photos from New Year celebrations in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, The Huffington Post collected pictures from New York’s Chinatown, and many more from around the world can be found on Flickr. Charles Custer, meanwhile, reported for Danwei from the heated kang of a courtyard house in the far north-east of China, where he spent the holiday with his in-laws: The Li family home is in Kedong, a small town that’s more or less halfway between Harbin and the Russian border. It was once a collection of pingfang – traditional Chinese one-storey houses – but those are increasingly being replaced with modern apartment buildings. Nowadays, if you stood in the center of Kedong, you might even feel like you were in a city. But it’s just an illusion; the apartment buildings give way to farmland within a few blocks in any direction. The Lis take Spring Festival traditions more seriously than most, or so Mr. Li – my father-in-law – tells me …. In the Li family, the most important is the tradition of paying respect to the family’s (male) ancestors. On the morning of the day before Spring Festival, as his son glued a red and gold Spring Festival couplet to the door of the house and then the gate ...
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