Spring festival: The beginning of the world’s largest migration of people

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China New Year Travel Passengers wait for a train to depart from the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, Friday Jan. 13, 2017. Officials expect that Chinese travelers will make almost 3 billion trips during the holiday travel rush that starts Friday and runs through Feb. 21. These trips include intercity flights, trains and local bus rides to villages for China’s 1.4 billion people. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Chinese people are heading home for Spring Festival, the world’s biggest annual human migration. It is the most important family celebration in the country.

Although it is a holiday celebration, it can be a stressful time for commuters. Officials estimate almost 3 billion trips nationwide from January 13 through February 21.

The Chinese New Year falls on January 28 this year, and many Chinese will battle their way home on New Year’s eve to watch a special gala prepared by China Central Television. The annual five-hour variety shows broadcast annually since 1983. It has become an essential part of the family gathering.

The 40-day travel rush will undoubtedly add pressure on the country’s transport system. Uncertain winter weather conditions, such as snow and heavy fog, might also bring challenges this year around.

Authorities are gearing up for the dramatic surge in people on the move across the country by implementing measures to accommodate the increase in passenger volume as well as arrangements ensuring their safety.

On Friday, the first day of the festival rush, at least 3,500 trains, 840,000 buses, 20,000 ships and 11,000 flights will operate across China, according to official estimates.