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China Traditional Valentine day Festivals
Spring Festival of China
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Spring Festival is as important to Chinese as Christmas to westerns. It is the Chinese New Year, known also as "passing the
year" in Chinese, marking the most important and popular of all Chinese festivals.pring Festival is as important to Chinese as Christmas to westerns. It is the Chinese New Year, known also as "passing the
year" in Chinese, marking the most important and popular of all Chinese festivals.
As early as the Xia dynasty (21-16 century B.C.), the first day of the first moon in the lunar calendar was known as the "head of year". But it was not until
the Han dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) that the day became a widely celebrated holiday. After the 1911 revolution, however, the Gregorian calendar officially replaced the traditional Chinese
calendar and the "beginning of the year" became known as the Spring Festival. In post-1949 China, the Spring Festival has become a national holiday which is celebrated throughout the
Spring Festival Activities:
hanging red laterns
paste " Fu " (good fortune) upside down
paste "the image of the god of wealth" onto doors, window or walls
ignite firecrackers to drive away the legendary animal " Nian "which would bring omen, that's how the alternative name of Spring Festival " Guo Nian
" came forth.
latern play, lion play, dragon play, Shehuo play etc.
Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese New Year's Day, is China's most important national holiday. The date of the new year is still determined by the lunar calendar even though the government of the Republic of China adopted the international Gregorian calendar in 1912. New Year's Day typically occurs sometime in early spring (February), but in 1998 the new year is early, falling on January 28.
It falls on the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The name of this festival is in fact derived from a Tang
dynasty(618-907) custom of hanging out lanterns on the night of the festival. The Lantern Festival is also celebrated with round dumplings made of glutinous rice flour and filled with a variety of
sweet fillings, known as Yuan Xiao(literally "the night of the first full moon"), which is another name for the festival.
Almost everyone in China's cities enjoys at least three days off work to celebrate Spring Festival, and the celebration lasts even longer in rural areas: from the eighth day of the last month of the lunar year to the 15th day of the first month of the following lunar year. Rural residents use this time, following a year's hard work and prior to the spring planting, to rest and relax as the climate in northern China is still quite cold.
The Han people (the majority ethnic group in China, accounting for more than 90 percent of the population) have a tradition of eating laba -- rice porridge with beans, nuts and dried fruit -- on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. This pastime symbolizes the peasants' wishes for an abundant harvest and healthy animals.
Starting on the 23d day of the 12th lunar month people clean their houses, decorate them with papercuts and streamers, shop for special Spring Festival foods and gifts, and begin preparing the New Year's banquet.
On the day before New Year's Day many families decorate their front door with a pair of couplets designating good fortune. These couplets are written in fine calligraphy on long strips of red paper. The text of the couplets is often taken from famous poems or old sayings, and the sentiments expressed are for happiness, good health, bumper harvests, family harmony and prosperity. Special pictures are placed in different rooms to dispel evil spirits and bring the family tranquility and happiness throughout the coming year.
Children set off firecrackers, play games and carry colorful lanterns in hand as they visit friends. Parents keep busy preparing the New Year's Eve dinner and making jiaozi -- dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings. Dumplings are an indispensable food for northerners during their New Year's celebration. In olden times, jiaozi were thought to scare away evil spirits, misfortune and disease. Today this well-loved dish is as closely associated with Spring Festival as turkey is with Thanksgiving in the United States.
Chinese have been making jiaozi for more than 1,600 years, but the preparation of this delicious food varies by region. One variety is made with fillings of meat, Chinese cabbage or other vegetables, peanut and sesame oils, with ginger, green onion and salt for flavoring. Another variety is filled with eggs and dried shrimp along with Chinese cabbage, Chinese chives and other flavorings.
On New Year's Day people traditionally eat dumplings made with egg and shrimp fillings to encourage a year of peace. Families in some rural areas have a custom of wrapping a small piece of candy or a coin in one of the dumplings. The person who eats this dumpling is considered lucky and will have a happy and prosperous new year. Following dinner, most families watch special holiday variety shows on television, which last well into New Year's Day. Many families stay up very late, some even stay up all night, laying cards, laughing, chatting, or telling stories to the children.
At midnight a barrage of firecrackers breaks the silence and after the cocks crow, every family conducts a New Year's ceremony. Everyone, old and young, dresses in their best before offering sacrifices to their gods and ancestors. The reunion meal in northern China consists of jiaozi. Old and young sit around the dinner table waiting to be served while the women boil the dumplings. If family members cannot join the reunion meal, a pair of chopsticks, a cup of wine and a bowl are laid out for them to symbolize the family's best wishes.
On New Year's Day the children receive gifts of money in red envelopes from their parents and grandparents. But, the most popular celebratory activity is young people expressing wishes of good fortune and health to the family elders. Other children enjoy visiting with friends, neighbors and relatives because they are treated to fruit, pastry and candy while their parents drink tea, wine or beer.
The celebratory climax occurs on the 15th day of the first lunar month during the Lantern Festival. At night lantern shows or lion dances are performed, luring visitors to the fun, whether it's in the city or the countryside.
Also called as Tomb-sweeping Day, It is the occasion for all the Chinese to honor their
ancestors. As it is early spring and usually falls around April 4, it is usually breezy and drizzly. But urban dweller prefer to go to the countryside during the season.
Paying respects to the dead in the third month in lunar calendar is related to the custom of funeral. Sweeping tomb has been an
indispensable custom since Qin Dynasty.
Tomb-sweeping day is not only one of the twenty-four solar terms but also an old traditional festival. The day before tomb-sweeping day is called
Hanshi Festival which is also in the third month of lunar year. This festival is in memory of a famous minister of Jin kingdom during the Spring
and Autumn Period.
customs related to Pure Brightness Festival: not eating food, sweeping the tomb of ancestors, going out to surburb, having a swing, flying a kite,
cockfighting, and playing the ball, etc.
Dragon Boat Festival
It falls on the 5th day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. This festival was established in commemoration of Qu Yuan (c.340-278 B.C.),
a statesman and poet of the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.). An official of the State of Chu, Qu Yuan was thwarted in his ambitions to save the country and threw himself into the Biluo River
when the State of Qin conquered Chu. Zongzi, glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves, are served on the festival and Dragon Boat races are held, which are strenuous and become
popular in Southern provinces.
Traditonally the dragon boat festival is " Sanitation Festival "
as well. On that day people would
sweep the floor in the yard, hang moxa, sprinkle arsenic sulphide on the floor and drink alcohol made of arsenic sulphide, in order to sterilize and defend illness.
The Seventh Evening of the Seventh Month Festival--Chinese
traditional valentine's day
The Seventh Evening Festival
-China's Valentine's Day.
The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is the Seventh Evening Festival, also known as the "Double Seven Festival".
Origins: According to a romantic Chinese fairy tale, the cowherd and the weaving girl meet on the evening of the Double Seven. As such, the festival is also known as China's Valentine's Day. The fairy tale has it that the milky way separates the hard-working cowherd and the weaving girl, who are very deeply in love with each other. It is only on the Seventh Evening Festival that they can meet. On that evening, the world's magpies form a bridge over the Milky Way so that the lovers can cross over and meet. This beautiful tale has its origins in the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). All Chinese people are told the story when they are children. The festival is also based on an annual astronomical phenomenon. Every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, two particular stars are bright in the night sky and shine until the sun rises. One of the stars is thought to be the weaving girl and the other the cowherd.
Begging for skills: People have a custom of begging the weaving girl to teach them needlework and weaving skills on the Double Seven Festival. Girls hold weaving and needlework competitions on the day of the festival to see who has the quickest mind and the most skillful hands. As such, the Seventh Evening Festival is also called the "Begging for Skills Festival" or the "Daughters' Festival."
Praying for a good harvest: Another custom of the Seventh Evening Festival is praying to the Milky Way for a good harvest. Some places hold "Qingmiao" or "Young Crops" parties
This story was passed down through the generations as a romantic folktale, but it served another purpose as well. It admonished a largely agricultural people not to neglect their duties - be it in the fields or at the looms.
The Seventh Sister
For women in Guangdong and Fujian, the Double Seventh Festival was an extremely important day. They called it the Day of Prayer to the Seventh Sister. Women from all households threaded their needles under the moon that evening as a prayer for good needlework and embroidery skills. They also flung white powder into the sky, letting it fall on their faces as it descended. They hoped this act would bring them beauty and happiness in marriage.
The festival falls on August 15 in the lunar calendar. Originally it is the when
people celebrate harvesting, and later it became a date when family get reunited
wherever family members are. The festival also related to a beautiful legend " Chang'e Ran to the Moon ".
In the remote past, there were ten suns in the sky, which fiercely roasted the land, and sea water getting dry. Men couldn't
make a living. For the sake of saving the local people, a hero named Houyi climbed up the Kunlun Mountain, he exerts all his strength to dragg the bow and shot down nine of the ten suns. People were
saved. After a few years, he married a beautiful woman named Chang?/font>e.
One day, HouYi went to the Kunlun Mountain to meet his friend. He happened to encounter the queen of the heaven. He asked
her for amaranthine medicine, and the queen gave it to him. It was said that if one took the medicine he could become a immortal immediately. However HouYi didn't have the heart to leave his wife so
he gave the medicine to Chang'e.
Unluckly, an underling named FengMeng saw everything. When HouYi went out, he came to HouYi?/font>s
home and bullied Chang'e gave the medicine to him. Chang'e knew that she couldn't beat FengMeng so she took the medicine. After taking the medicine, she felt her body flying in the air, at last she
fly to the heaven. Missing her husband very much, she fell on the moon because it is the nearest to the earth and thus she became the goddess of the moon.
When Houyi returned home, handmaids sobbed out everything to him. HouYi 's heart was broken. He looked up the sky and cried out
for his lover. Suddenly he found that the moon that night was so bright and round, and there was a swaying figures so much like his wife. He hurriedly asked the servants to put an incense burner
table with fruits and sweeties under the moon to memorize Chang'e. People learned about the message, they all put an incense burner table under the moon impetrating that Chang'e would bring them
safety and luck. From then on, holding a memorial ceremony at the Mid-Autumn Moon has become a traditon and spread throughout the country..
The Festival is exceptionally interesting for the children who play happily with the bright new toys. The toys are made from various different forms: the lion lead, the animal in folk tales and stories. The lanterns are colourful and of various kinds, such as the rabbit, the carp, etc. Besides traditional carton paper toys, plastic and bamboo plates, ships, tanks, etc. made of plastics with batteries and having remote controls are also on sale. This is understandable due to the economic improvements of the people. Whether organized in the city or countryside, the preserved tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival is reflected in the way the children play games such as seek-and-hide, lion dancing, lantern marching, etc.
The welcome-the-moon party in the evening is a good opportunity for the children not only to enjoy the food, but also to learn more from their grandparents and parents. They are told how to prepare the party in the
most attractive way. To decorate the party, there is always a "doctor" made of paper or dough, which reminds the children of the high achievements to be obtained in their studies. The time to start enjoying the party is solemnly shared by the whole family and becomes the most sacred moment of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the bright moonlight, clear sky and fresh environment, everybody is relaxed with a pure and detached joy.
To the Chinese, this festival is similar to the American Thanksgiving holiday, celebrating a bountiful harvest. Compared to many Chinese festivals that are inundated with vibrant colors and sounds, the Mid-Autumn festival remains more subdued. Traditionally celebrated outdoors under the moonlight, people eat moon cakes and gaze at the moon. In modern times, barbecues with families and friends are also common.
Celebration of the
The Double Ninth Festival--
The ninth day of the ninth lunar month is " The Double Ninth Festival ". It is a festival of field amusement. The customs of the
festival include: climbing the mountain, enjoying the chrysanthemum, drinking the wine made of mum, inserting see below and eating a kind of cake
The Double Ninth Festival is also The Graybeard Festival. The old people enjoy the chrysanthemum and climb the hill, which can build their body and exert a
It falls on the 8th day of the twelfth month in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Laba was originally a religious holiday in celebration of Sakyamuni's attainment of
Buddhahood. Buddhists of the Han nationality would make an offering to the Buddha of a steamed pudding made of rice and fruit called "Laba pudding". The holiday has long been
secularized and the pudding remains very popular.
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