WATCH: Observe Intimate Moments from the World’s Largest Annual Human Migration

The film celebrates Chunyun's most human moments

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7:52 PM HKT, Sun February 2, 2020 1 mins read

Each year, the world’s largest act of human migration takes place as people scramble home for the Spring Festival.

This short film by New York-based filmmaker Jonathan Bregel quietly captures of the phenomenon of “Chunyun,” the name for the forty-day long period of increased travel.

Bregel’s observational lens reveals the meaningless moments that make up this momentous occasion. Some sleep propped up on their luggage, while others play mobile games or cards to pass the time. Ultimately, everyone arrives at their destination — tender moments with family.

This year’s festivities were disrupted by the outbreak of a new coronavirus, upending millions of travel plans and extending the national holiday. The government of Wuhan put the city on lockdown on January 23rd, canceling flights and halting public transportation.

Amid heightened corona contagion fears, Chinese officials on January 27 announced the New Year holiday would be extended across the country to keep people at home in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.


Although many businesses are remaining closed or encouraging remote working for at least the next week, millions are still preparing to get on the long and winding road home. That in turn has led to the hashtag #返程路上如何做好个人防护# has gone viral across Sina Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms. Roughly translating to “how to protect yourself on your way back,” numerous users, major media outlets such as The People’s Daily included, are using the tag to list dos and don’ts people must bear in mind when traveling home.

The notices also discuss office behavior for those back at work, ranging from keeping your distance in the elevator to bringing your own chopsticks and disinfecting your hands and your mobile phone. Speaking of mobiles, just to ensure all generations are on board, the notices have also been set to music and turned into a Douyin-style short video.

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