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Spring tickles the taste buds

The country waved goodbye to winter and ushered in spring with traditional meals and other celebrations yesterday.

 

Lichun - literally, the "beginning of the spring" - was the first day of the 24 divisions of the solar year according to the traditional Chinese calendar.

 

"I got up much earlier this morning and rushed to the market, only to find long queues," said Wang Yanlin, a 56-year-old housewife in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

 

"Ingredients for chunbing have all doubled in price," she said, referring to the pancake traditionally consumed on the day, which is made of flour, eggs, bean sprouts and leek.

 

"I have to buy them because it's the tradition I have to observe," Wang added.

 

Long queues for food could also be seen in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

 

The tradition of eating special snacks and dinners on the day is called yaochun, which literally means "biting the spring." Other favorite dishes on the day include zhouzi, braised pork joints, and chunjuan, fried rolls stuffed with leek and eggs.

 

Lichun is celebrated in many different ways.

 

In northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, many people mark the day by tying red cloth to their doors to invite in the spring and good luck.

 

In Beijing, residents embraced the spring with smiles and cheerful shouts of "here comes the spring!"

 

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2009)