China’s most popular search engine, Baidu, has created a heat map demonstrating the enormous exodus of people from the big cities to their hometowns for the New Year. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the migration, even though the New Year doesn’t start until Thursday, 80 million people started heading home on Monday.
The Telegraph reports that “If someone uses a Baidu app in Beijing in the morning, then pings from the southwestern city of Kunming in the evening, a new trip will be registered and a straight line added from Beijing to Kunming. Lines glow white-hot during the biggest travel days of the holiday, which officially runs from Wednesday through Feb. 24 but unofficially includes many days on either end. The period of heightened travel is considered 40 days long.”
Here is a picture of Monday’s migration:
Here is the link to the real time map, for those of you who’d like to try your luck (I’ve tried four times and the site seems overwhelmed by visitors).
Not everyone is so anxious to get home, however. The Washington Post, in an article titled “For unmarried, Chinese New Year brings dreaded parental nagging,” tells of the dread many unmarried Chinese feel about the prospect of going home. Apparently there are manuals for how to deal with nagging parents and even rent-a-boyfriend businesses for particularly desperate young folk.