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February 9, 2013

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Snakes, flowers, plenty to eat as Shanghai marks lunar New Year

There's lots to do in Shanghai during the holiday with scenic spots across the city hosting activities.

A lantern exhibition and a temple fair will be held at Yuyuan Garden, and the area has been festooned with lights bearing auspicious meanings of prosperity, fortune, good luck and happiness.

Fangta Park will invite visitors to ring bells and beat drums - traditions said to absolve sin and bring good luck.

Guyi Garden will invite visitors to figure out 2,013 lantern riddles, many about the Chinese zodiac.

There will also be dragon and lion dances and shadow play performances. Also on offer will be some famous local snacks such as glutinous rice porridge and steamed buns.

With the start of the Year of the Snake, the creatures will be the theme of many cultural activities in celebration.

Craftsmen with nimble fingers will perform paper-cutting featuring snakes at the Grand View Garden, also known in Chinese as Daguanyuan.

Shanghai Zoo is holding a calligraphy contest and zodiac exhibition throughout the holiday.

Dramas about snake-related legends, fables and fairy tales as well as magic shows will be staged, and students will be invited to write calligraphy with snake themes.

Other events include a snakes exhibition.

If it's color you're after, then winter is the best time to appreciate plum blossom. At Century Park, some 7,000 plum trees are in full bloom.

Gongqing Forest Park is hosting a narcissus exhibition and Chenshan Botanic Garden is displaying 15,000 flowers, including tulips and Barbados lilies.

Local museums also have something to offer.

Among them, the China Maritime Museum is inviting visitors to create batik paintings and the Shanghai Glass Museum is hosting an exhibition featuring glass earrings from ancient times.

Jinshan District's Strawberry Festival, until March 3, will let visitors pick, taste and buy fresh strawberries at the district's eight orchards.

Like last year, more than 3 million people from around China and abroad are expected to visit Shanghai during the holiday, tourism authorities said.

Major science museums and parks are open to the public during the weeklong holiday.

The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum will be open from Sunday to Friday between 9am and 5:15pm.

Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai Wild Animal Park and Shanghai Botanic Garden are all open during the holiday.

Scenic lighting will be on from today until next Thursday. Today the lighting will be on from 6pm until after midnight to celebrate the arrival of the lunar new year. On other days, the lighting will be on from 6pm to 10:30pm.

Many hospitals will have no outpatient services until next Saturday but emergency services will be available every day.


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