New Year in Beijing / 在北京过元旦

Happy New Year! 祝你元旦快乐!

I’m still not sure what the Gregorian Calendar new year means to people here. Officially people get the day off work and I expected that people would take advantage of the opportunity to go out and have a party, as they do in Hong Kong for both Christmas and New Year. However, in the bar district I visited tonight there wasn’t much going on. Perhaps it was too cold.

Here’s what I did for New Year 2011. Since Chinese New Year is typically celebrated in northern China by eating dumplings, I invited a friend to join me at a fine dumpling restaurant. After that we mixed the Chinese tradition with a western tradition and headed down to a bar district to ring in the new year with some cocktails.

At the cocktail bar we got roped into helping the owner locate an online countdown clock. I couldn’t find a countdown clock that included audio, so with less than 20 seconds to go I dragged one of the house singers over to the computer to manually announce the countdown on the microphone. The owner had stepped outside for a smoke so she missed it.

Since we were helping the owner run her business, I figured we should get something for it, so I went up to the bar and asked the owner for some free drinks. At first she was reluctant but then she came over with a few free drinks and started chatting to us. We wound up the evening listening to the remaining patrons singing karaoke using the bar’s computer as a karaoke machine.

So that was my New Year celebration in Beijing. Not bad since I threw the plan together only two days ahead of time.

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