Beijing — Train and bus stations overflowed and airports were packed today as tens of millions of Chinese rushed home to be with their families for the start of the Lunar New Year holiday and the Year of the Tiger.
The annual holiday is the most important of the year in China, with families expected to welcome in the New Year at midnight Saturday with a roar of fireworks that will last for hours.
It is the only time in the year when China’s massive army of migrant workers, who work on building sites and in factories in major cities, get a chance to return home to see their families.
China calls the holiday the biggest annual movement of people in the world. The Ministry of Railways has estimated that 210 million passengers — more than Russia’s population — will ride the rails during the 40-day New Year travel season, up 10 percent from last year.