The most important holiday in the Chinese calendar places great emphasis on family reunions, and travellers must get home by Monday to usher in the Year of the Pig the following day.
In pictures: Millions of Chinese begin exodus for Lunar New Year holiday
Millions of Chinese have begun the annual exodus to welcome in the Year of the Pig, leaving major cities to return to their hometowns for the holiday in the world's largest annual human migration.
At Beijing Railway Station, thousands were milling around in the cold, wrapped up in thick coats and wheeling their luggage.
Readying for a 32-hour journey from Beijing to Huaihua in Hunan province, central China, passengers kept themselves entertained on mobile phones while sipping tea from flasks and eating noodles.
Rail operators expect some 413 million trips during this year's holiday season, up 8.3 percent from a year ago, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Several Chinese cities have decorated colorful lanterns and lights to welcome the Lunar New Year.
A tourist town in eastern China is trying to attract health conscious visitors with hot springs designed to look like a fiery hotpot, a popular Chinese dish said to drive away winter blues.
Visitors to the First World Hotel in Hangzhou can dip into a hot spring bath, shaped like a rectangular copper pot with nine compartments, each containing popular hotpot ingredients like chilli peppers, lime, corn and lettuce.
Across China, bright and colourful latern shows have been lighting up the night sky.