China ends Chinese New Year with molten metal showers
NUANQUAN, China (AFP) - Fireworks lit up the sky across China on Sunday and straw-hatted farmers in one village hurled molten metal into the air, as the country marked the end of Chinese New Year festivities.
China's Lantern Festival traditionally signals the close of just over two weeks of rest and feasting during Chinese New Year, the country's biggest holiday, which sees hundreds of millions return to their ancestral homes. Cities across the country echoed with explosions as millions took to the streets to set off fireworks, and one village hosted a molten metal throwing festival, one of a host of ancient Chinese customs revived in recent decades.
With little more than a straw hat and goggles for protection, a team of farmers spooned molten hot metal from buckets before hurling it at a brick wall, where it rained down in fountains of glowing shards. The spectacle brought roars of approval from the audience in Nuanquan village, a few hours drive from Beijing, which has revived the centuries-old festival in a bid to boost tourism, building a dedicated amphitheatre for the purpose.
Scrap iron collected from households in the village is melted down in primitive furnaces, which shoot flames and torrents of sparks into the night sky behind the technicolour stage.