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There’s lots to do in city over Spring Festival

SHANGHAI is a festive mood with scenic spots across the city hosting a variety of activities with equestrian themes to celebrate the start of the Year of the Horse.

A lantern exhibition featuring more than 100 sets of horse lanterns, with the biggest "gold horse" more than three times the size of a real horse, will be held at downtown’s Yuyuan Garden. The area has been festooned with lights bearing auspicious meanings.

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium will host a special exhibition featuring fish species that contain the Chinese character for horse in their names or bear auspicious meanings. Among those on display are seahorses as well as alligator pipefish, which have the character for dragon in their name and look like seahorses. (The dragon holds an important place in Chinese mythology, and as a symbol of the emperor represented supreme power and good fortune.) Also on display is the blood parrot cichlid, which is known as a fish of wealth or fortune in China.

Guyi Garden in Jiading District is inviting visitors for a traditional-feeling lunar New Year. Craftsmen wearing traditional Chinese garments will perform paper-cutting, dough modeling, sugar painting, miniature creations, sachet making and other old traditional folk crafts featuring horse elements.

It will also invite visitors to figure out 2,014 lantern riddles, many about the Chinese zodiac.

A Guyi Garden temple fair includes delicacies from home and abroad like the traditional Shanghai-style dim sum, Nanxiang steamed buns and Shaoxing stinky tofu will also be staged at the garden through the holiday.

Flowers will add a splash of color during the festival.

The Shanghai Botanical Garden will offer a camellia exhibition displaying about 1,000 camellias of more than 200 varieties from tomorrow to March 16. The garden introduced nearly 200 camellias of 60-plus varieties from Yunnan Province last year and they will be showcased for the first time. Some are of rare types.

The Chenshan Botanic Garden will host a winter jasmine flower display through the holiday and a huge horse made with traditional paper-cutting crafts will greet visitors. Some blossoms like poinsettia and peony that bear auspicious meanings will spruce up the garden during the holiday.

Winter is the best time to appreciate plum blossoms. At Century Park, plum trees are in full bloom.

People are also invited to ring the bells at temples across the city, a tradition in the new year believed to absolve sin and bring good luck for the year ahead.

If they are looking for something quiet, the Shanghai Library is recommended since it will host a lecture on February 4 about the folk customs and foods of the Spring Festival.

Shanghai is expected to receive about 3.4 million visitors during the holiday.


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