Balcony concerts and living-room vacations: how Chinese people are beating quarantine boredom

From performing the traditional lion dance in their living rooms to imitating fireworks, Chinese people are finding inventive ways to beat the boredom of quarantine.
From performing the traditional lion dance in their living rooms to imitating fireworks, Chinese people are finding inventive ways to beat the boredom of quarantine.

What can you do to keep busy when you are stuck at home for a month? People who’ve been under quarantine in China for the past month are getting creative to beat their boredom. Social media sites are full of videos of activities ranging from dance performances staged at home to a concert performed on a balcony.

More than 15 cities in China have been under quarantine for weeks. In an attempt to beat the boredom of being trapped at home, people have been finding ways to entertain themselves by transforming their homes into playgrounds or improvised gyms.

The most recent video to go viral on social media shows a couple using pillows and batons to practice boxing and martial arts on their balcony... with their very eager dog. This video has been circulating on Chinese social media network Weibo since February 26 along with the hashtag “boredom at home and dog fighting”

Tens of millions of people were trapped at home during the Lunar New Year, which lasted from January 24 through February 8, and is usually a time when Chinese people travel to visit family or take a vacation. Some families decided to go sightseeing… in their own homes.

This video was posted on Twitter on February 2 along with the caption: “[W]hen the chinese get bored of staying home - they go sightseeing around their home. Bedside mountain (with a monster), man made waterfall, hot springs, and [street food]. I’m on the floor."

"The next step is bed mountain!” says this dad dressed up as a tour guide as he leads his children into a bedroom. Then he brings them to the shower. “Second stop-- the homemade waterfall!” Before stopping to sample “local fruit” in the dining room, the children wade in a “hot spring”-- the bathtub filled up with hot water.

Unable to take part in the biggest festivities of the year because of the outbreak, some families organised their own at-home versions of the traditional lion dance, a hallmark of Lunar New Year celebrations.

Two videos copied from Weibo by the FRANCE 24 Observers team show people performing traditional lion dances in quarantine. The first was posted on Weibo on February 18 along with the hashtag, “Nothing to do at home”. The second, published on January 25, was made by people living in Shanxi, in northern China, who had to cancel their travel plans because of the epidemic.

Fireworks are also a big part of traditional New Year celebrations. Some people used balloons, toothpicks and good old fashioned yells to replace firecrackers. 

This woman imitated fireworks for her amused family. This video was posted on Weibo on January 29. 

Some of the videos posted feature animals:

A video posted to Weibo and republished by the FRANCE 24 Observers. 


To illustrate just how bored he was, one man filmed himself inching across the floor. 


Instead of giving in to ennui, some people have used the extra time to organise curling tournaments with pots and pans or open-air concerts on their balconies.  

This video, which had garnered close to 10,000 views, was posted on Twitter on February 20. It was originally posted on Douyin, the version of TikTok available in China.

This video was widely circulated on Weibo and was picked up by several Chinese media outlets. It was posted on the evening of February 8, the day of the lantern festival, which, in China, marks the end to Lunar New Year festivities. This man invited his neighbours to join in before launching into a well-known song by Taiwanese singer Jay Chou. Many people on social media said they were incredibly moved by this concert. After several similar videos appeared online, the Chinese authorities reminded the population that wearing a mask when you are outside is mandatory, even if you are just on your balcony. 

For the less lucky youngsters, quarantine means doing homework at home with a teacher who does televised lessons. 

This video was posted on Weibo Feb. 23.


Article written by Marie Genries