HUFFINGTON POST

100,000 Travelers Are Stuck In Southern China Ahead Of The Lunar New Year

The turn of the lunisolar calendar spurs the country's largest annual migration.
Nearly 100,000 travelers filled the gates outside the railway station in Guangzhou on Feb. 1, one week before the Chines
Nearly 100,000 travelers filled the gates outside the railway station in Guangzhou on Feb. 1, one week before the Chinese Lunar New Year.

As Americans count down the days until Super Bowl 50, people in China are busy getting ready for a celebration of their own: the Lunar New Year.

The Year of the Monkey will not begin until Feb. 8, but preparations in southern China have already been fraught with chaos. Family gatherings for dinner on New Year's Eve are a widely respected Chinese tradition, prompting mass migration in the days leading up to the celebration.

But on Monday, nearly 100,000 people were stranded at a railway station in Guangzhou as icy weather conditions delayed several trains, stalling travelers who'd hoped to get home before the New Year festivities kick off.

Authorities declared a “level two emergency” and deployed more than 2,600 security guards to control the crowds, according to The Guardian, which cites Chinese media.

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Icy weather has delayed several trains in China, stranding nearly 100,000 people in Guangzhou who were headed home for tradit
Icy weather has delayed several trains in China, stranding nearly 100,000 people in Guangzhou who were headed home for traditional family celebrations.
Passengers queue up to enter Guangzhou railway station in Guangzhou, Feb. 2, 2016.
Passengers queue up to enter Guangzhou railway station in Guangzhou, Feb. 2, 2016.

Meanwhile, people are decorating cities across the country, including the capital Beijing, with paper lanterns and other traditional decorations to ring in the Zodiac festival. Cultural activities like dragon dances, ancestor worship and firecrackers will begin on Monday and continue for about 15 days. Most people will also get a week off from work, marking the nation's longest public holiday.

Also known as the Spring Festival, the family-oriented celebration occurs annually at the turn of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which often comes one month after the start of the Gregorian calendar.

Check out these stunning photos from China, taken one week before the Lunar New Year.

A girl rides on a child's scooter under decorations for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year at Ditan Park in Beijin
A girl rides on a child's scooter under decorations for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year at Ditan Park in Beijing, Feb. 2, 2016.
People walk past an entrance gate of Ditan Park decorated with red lanterns.
People walk past an entrance gate of Ditan Park decorated with red lanterns.
Passers-by take a selfie in front of trees decorated with light installations.
Passers-by take a selfie in front of trees decorated with light installations.
Folk artists rehearse for a upcoming temple fair to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Folk artists rehearse for a upcoming temple fair to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
People walk past a monkey decoration at the Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing.
People walk past a monkey decoration at the Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing.
A Chinese family takes a souvenir photo near a tree decorated with red lanterns.
A Chinese family takes a souvenir photo near a tree decorated with red lanterns.
Workers set up Chinese lanterns to decorate a Beijing street.
Workers set up Chinese lanterns to decorate a Beijing street.
People purchase New Year's decorations in Zoucheng City, in east China's Shandong province.
People purchase New Year's decorations in Zoucheng City, in east China's Shandong province.