Last Night Before Chinese New Year’s Eve in Shanghai

We want to wish our friends, clients and design fans around the world a happy Chinese New Year! With the Year of the Horse upon us, we thought it might be fun to give everyone a taste of what Shanghai, China’s largest city, is like during this amazing time of year.

Though you might suspect it’d be busy and bustling, it’s actually quite the opposite; because so many of the city’s residents are migrants from elsewhere in the country who head home for the New Year holiday, the city can be eerily quiet. Shanghai locals celebrate the holiday in their own ways, including setting off amazing arrays of fireworks, putting up beautiful lighting displays, taking advantage of the lack of crowds to do some cleaning and even wearing red underwear. Have a look at these photos we took on a beautiful evening this week and see for yourself! To learn more about this fascinating holiday, check out our WILDCARDS installment on Chinese holiday traditions.

Special light-up tree decorations are a new feature of CNY celebrations, and they even resemble Western Christmas decorations a bit.

with light decorated Tree in shanghai

Shanghai’s East Nanjing Rd. Pedestrian Street is normally packed with tourists and shoppers, but tonight it was nearly empty, with most Chinese home with their families for the New Year holiday.


Taxis can be hard to come by in Shanghai, but with many city residents having returned to their hometowns, finding one with a green light (which means they’re available) is no challenge.

many taxi is empty on CNY's eve

Chinese New Year has become an interesting marketing and design theme as Chinas’ economy has expanded.

window using CNY's element

Shanghai residents heading home for the break, their electric scooters left behind.


With shoppers home for the holidays, malls and luxury stores are taking the opportunity to do some Spring (Festival) cleaning late at night.

luxury shops cleaning before CNY

WILDDESIGN Picks Shanghai's Best Chinese New Year Window Displays
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Muhan: 8 years living and working in Germany and recently come to Shanghai. From a product designer became a blogger, I am always trying to catch up, explore and learn from the fast- changing world.

Originally written by Muhan Zhang, 30. January 2014. Last updated 15. May 2023


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