TAIYUAN, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- With the approach of the Spring Festival holiday, many Chinese are choosing to purchase "nianhuo," or basic goods and necessities for the holiday, in non-traditional ways.
The festival, which begins on Feb. 10 this year, serves as an important occasion for family reunions, as well as marks the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Purchasing meat, clothing and other ingredients and gifts is a common tradition for the festival.
"In the 1980s, special markets for such goods would be set up prior to the festival," said Zhang Zongren, a resident of Quwo county in north China's Shanxi province.
However, changing customs and attitudes have led many Chinese to purchase necessities in different ways or replace them entirely, said Li Yongchong, an expert at the Shanxi Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.
More families are choosing to have their traditional New Year's Eve dinner in restaurants instead of cooking at home, reducing the need to purchase such goods.
While supermarkets supply ready-made delicacies and imported goods for the festival, an increasing number of shoppers are choosing to buy "nianhuo" online.
Taobao, China's biggest online retailer, launched a special "nianhuo" website one month ahead of the festival to meet demand from online shoppers. Goods sold on the site range from local delicacies to travel packages for those who wish to leave their hometowns during the holiday.