Beijing, Feb 15 (PTI) China today shut down for a week to celebrate the Chinese New Year welcoming the year of the Dog, triggering the world’s largest annual human migration where people go to their villages for family reunions.

All the government and private offices as well as most of business have been closed all over the country with millions of Chinese heading to home to be with their kin or for holiday destinations for tourist spots in China and abroad.

Around 380 million domestic trips are expected during the week-long holidays, the China National Tourism Bureau said.

The Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival is celebrated for about a month. The official holiday however lasts for a week.

There is a mad scramble for air, rail and bus tickets. Reports say highways are also clogged with heavy traffic.    Official media accounts say nearly 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made during the Chunyun or Spring Festival travel rush, and hundreds of thousands of Chinese, mostly migrant workers, will go home using every means of transport including motorcycles.

After the week, the return rush starts in the same way. Considering the numbers, it is regarded as the world’s biggest annual human migration.

This year China bids farewell to the year of Rooster and welcome the year of the Dog.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, years are grouped into a 12-year cycle, with each year assigned to an animal symbols, including rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Most of the places all over the country are decorated with buntings featuring dog.

“Chinese people’s way of celebrating the festival has changed from a carnival ritual to a more restrained and environmentally friendly manner, due to lifestyle changes and concerns over pollution,” Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, told state-run Global Times.

The Chinese government is also promoting the festival abroad to spread Chinese culture.

Chinese New Year celebrations will also be held in more than 400 cities in over 130 countries and regions, a government announcement said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.