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100,000 Beijing residents clean streets to greet 'Little New Year' (photos attached)
From:Xinhuanet Updated:2007-02-12

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100,000 Beijing residents clean streets to greet 'Little New Year' (photo attached)
Folk-custom performers play dance at Shijia Hutong in Beijing, on Feb. 10, 2007. People celebrated the traditional Chinese "Little New Year" a week ahead of the Spring Festival in various traditional forms on Saturday. "Little New Year", which is called "Xiaonian" in Chinese, falls on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, Feb. 10 this year. Traditionally Chinese people offer sacrifices to the "Kitchen God" who looks after the family's fortunes on the day. (Xinhua/Zhang Xu)

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- About 100,000 Beijing residents took their brooms outdoors on Saturday for a "Clean City" drive to mark traditional Chinese "Little New Year" --- a week before "New Year," or Spring Festival.

Volunteer environmental inspectors could also be seen in the streets, dissuading citizens from uncivil behavior such as spitting and littering.

The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month is called "xiao nian" in Chinese, which literally means "Little New Year." Traditionally it is an important occasion when people offer sacrifices to the "Kitchen God" who looks after the family's fortunes.

According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the "Kitchen God" goes up to heaven to give his annual report to the "Jade Emperor," the supreme leader, about the family's activities over the past year. The god returns to his freshly cleaned shrine on New Year's Eve.

"Little New Year" is also a day for families to carefully and thoroughly clean their houses so that they are bright and clean --polishing the furniture, cleaning walls and sweeping floors.

Beijing will be the host of the 29th Olympic Games in 2008, and local authorities are keen to create a clean environment and to persuade citizens to abandon "uncivilized" behavior.

The city will launch a "Clean City" drive every three months, mobilizing all walks of life to protect the environment, said a spokesman with the Municipal Environment Protection Office on Saturday.

100,000 Beijing residents clean streets to greet 'Little New Year' (photo attached)
Residents from the Chaoyangmen Community play the dragon dance in Beijing, on Feb. 10, 2007. (Xinhua Photo)

100,000 Beijing residents clean streets to greet 'Little New Year' (photo attached)
A foreign visiter shoots as folk-custom performers play dance at Shijia Hutong in Beijing, on Feb. 10, 2007. (Xinhua Photo/Zhang Xu)

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