Photos from the Lunar New Year show how the Wuhan coronavirus turned China's biggest party into a washout (Lauren Frias)
Lunar New Year Ditan Park Beijing China

Reuters/Business Insider

  • The novel coronavirus outbreak has affected one of the most important cultural holidays in the Chinese culture: Lunar New Year.
  • After unprecedented quarantines were imposed throughout the country, people are prevented from traveling to see their families during the holiday.
  • Here are photos comparing last year's celebration — complete with Chinese lions, historical dances, and family time — to this year.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more.

The novel coronavirus outbreak in China began in tandem with a significant holiday in the Chinese culture: the Lunar New Year.

Parts of China went under unprecedented quarantines in hopes of stemming the spread of the disease, known as 2019-nCoV, affecting nearly 50 million people in the country.

The Lunar New Year celebration traditionally calls for parades, outdoor festivals, and lanterns throughout the city, as people gather with their families to celebrate the annual holiday.

But in light of the Wuhan coronavirus that has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,900 as of Thursday, cities around the country are forced to cancel one of the most important cultural events of the year.

Here are photos comparing last year's celebration — complete with Chinese lions, historical dances, and family time — to this year.

2019: Crowds gather in Ditan Park in Beijing, China.

ditan park lunar new year beijing 2019

Thomas Peter/Reuters2020: Ditan Park is eerily empty as workers took down the lantern decorations after the Lunar New Year celebration was cancelled.

ditan park beijing china 2020

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters2019: Signs with the Chinese character "Fu," which means "Good luck," hang in the Forbidden City.

chinese lunar new year sign forbidden city

Jason Lee/Reuters2020: Doctors hold up the same sign in the hospital while treating coronavirus patients.

doctors signs wuhan hospitals

THE CENTRAL HOSPITAL OF WUHAN VIA WEIBO via Reuters2019: Folk artists perform a traditional lion dance.

folk artists lunar new year 2019

Reuters2020: A Chinese tourist wearing a mask is flanked by two lions at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand.

lunar new year 2020

Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters2019: Tourists can be seen in the Forbidden City during the Lunar New Year.

forbidden city lunar new year

Jason Lee/Reuters2020: Police wearing masks stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate outside of the Forbidden City.

Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters2019: Passengers traveling for the Lunar New Year pack into the Hengyang Railway Station.

lunar new year travel rush 2019

Stringer/Reuters2020: Passengers are getting screened for the coronavirus at the Hangzhou Railway Station.

screening lunar new year coronavirus 2020

China Daily via Reuters2019: Performers are seen outside a temple after re-enacting a Chinese New Year Qing Dynasty ceremony.

Temple of Earth in Ditan Park in Beijing, China lunar new year

Thomas Peter/Reuters2020: People stand outside the gate of a temple that was closed for safety concerns following the coronavirus outbreak.

closed temple lunar new year

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters2019: A woman prays with incense in her hands.

lunar new year praying incense

Jorge Silva/Reuters2020: Two men, one of whom is wearing a mask, do the same.

lunar new year praying incense mask 2020

Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters

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