World's Largest Human Migration Underway Again

Chinese head home for Lunar New Year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2017 11:14 AM CST
Passengers wait outside Guangzhou Railway Station ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2016.   (Color China Photo via AP)
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(Newser) – Thought it was hectic traveling at Christmas or Thanksgiving? That was nothing to what some travelers will encounter with Chinese New Year celebrations kicking off Friday. In what Bloomberg dubs the "world’s biggest human migration," hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens will be on the move for the country’s most important holiday, which marks the start of China’s lunar calendar and the Year of the Rooster. In comparison, 49 million Americans made a major trip at Thanksgiving. However, China’s holiday lasts quite a bit longer at 16 days, with the official travel season stretching 40 days, from Jan. 13 to Feb 20, reports the Washington Post.

Many in China also require multiple trips, say by bus and train, to get to their destination, reports the New York Times. About 356 million people are expected to travel China’s railways and another 58 million are expected to take flights. NPR reports half of Shanghai’s 26 million people have cleared out, most returning to their home towns as is customary. For some, it’s a rare occasion when they’re able to see their families as workers are typically given a week off. Migrant workers typically get two weeks of holiday. A man from Beijing tells the Times that his 20-hour journey of more than 1,100 miles to his home village is well worth the crowds. "I get to go back just once a year." (Read more Chinese New Year stories.)

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