Chunyun (春運) literally "the springtime pilgrimage", is the annual journey of Chinese people to the village of their birth in celebration of the Lunar New Year. It is somewhat comprable to the Muslim Hajj and is regarded as the largest annual human migration in the world. It is tradition for Chinese families to have a reunion dinner where the entire family comes to their home village for food and celebration. In the old days people did not wander far from home, but as new economic opportunities emerged in the cities, most families have become separated, sometimes by thousands of miles. Think of the Christmas travel season, but on a much larger scale. Within a period of 15 days, over 1.3 billion people travel to and within China. Most of China's transportation infrastructure can barely keep up with the demand. Most Chinese travel home by train, as many cannot afford to fly. Ticket prices can often double or triple during Chunyun, and people will frequently fight over train tickets. Scalping and pocket picking are common among the chaos.
Chunyun is a very important trip, not going is showing disrespect to your family and ancestors. Some people too poor to take the train actually walk over 200 miles to get home. One man, He Puxian even created a song dedicated to the millions of migrant workers who make the journey. He called it "Afraid to go home for the New Year"
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