As hundreds of millions of Chinese complete their journeys home for the Chinese New Year, many will be squeezing in a last-minute haircut.
In a nod to a tradition going back hundreds of years, many people in China seek to avoid getting a haircut in the first month of the Lunar New Year, because it is said to bring bad luck to their uncles.
“Once upon a time during the Qing Dynasty, the Han Chinese were forced to shave the front of their heads,” Beijing hairdresser Xiao Qi said.
“Back then, they would say ‘remember the old days when we didn’t have to get a haircut at the start of each year?'”
“But the words for ‘remember the old days’ sound similar to the words for ‘dead uncle’,” he said.
His inner-city salon has seen a surge of business over the past week, as customers race to get a trim before the Friday night deadline.
“After the new year it’ll be very quiet,” he said.
The haircut tradition is one of many Chinese New Year superstitions, and one that annually creates a boom and bust period for the nation’s hairdressers.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 26, 2017
But they are not the only ones looking to cash in on the new year celebrations.
Chicken farmers are among those most eagerly awaiting the Year of the Rooster.
“The Year of the Rooster means a lot to China. All Chinese people like roosters, even the map of China looks like a big rooster,” said Song Haichang, a poultry breeder on the outskirts of Beijing.
Mr Song specialises in breeding gamecocks — fighting roosters used for cockfights — which are not illegal in China despite a ban on gambling.
“Children who are born in the Year of Rooster are very brave,” Mr Song said.
“They also keep their promises, have a sense of taking responsibility … and like to look after others,” he said.
Mr Song hopes the Year of the Rooster will inspire more people to buy either live roosters he has bred, or chicken meat from his farm.
“Our business here in the Year of Rooster will forge ahead and comprehensively develop,” he said.
Chinese authorities said more than 350 million people would be travelling by train during the Lunar New Year period, while another 60 million are taking flights to their home towns and cities.
Confused Chinese migrant cycles 500km south – not north – on Lunar New Year holiday journey home https://t.co/jwHVs7funb
— Jean C. Mittelstaedt (@jc_mittelstadt) January 25, 2017
An estimated six million people are planning to spend the new year break abroad on holiday, which has become an increasingly popular alternative for both young adult travellers and families alike.