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Chinese Traditional Festivals [Copy link] 中文

Post time 2004-10-23 11:32:42 |Display all floors
1.New Year's Day
First Day of the First Month of the year

2.Spring Festival--Chinese New Year

3.The Lantern Festival
15th Day of the First Month of the year

4.Qingming - The Clear & Bright Festival
5th Day of the 3rd Month of the year

5.Dragon Boat Festival
5th Day of the 5th Month of the year

6.Qixi Festival--Chinese Valentine's Day
7th Night of the 7th Month of the year

7.The Ghost Festival--Half July
15th Day of the 7th Month of the year

8.Moon Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival
15th Day of the 8th Month of the year

9.Double Nineth Festival
9th Day of the 9th Month of the year

Welcome to add more Chinese Traditional Festivals and we also would like to see the stories for Western Festivals, thanks.

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:39:35 |Display all floors

1.New Year's Day

This day is not celebrated as much as it is in other parts of the world because it is overshawdowed by the Chinese New Year (Lunar Festival).

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:40:54 |Display all floors

2.Spring Festival - Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Begining of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coodination with the changes of Nature). Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree, however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means "year", was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year (We are talking about the new year in terms of the Chinese calendar).

One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?" So, swollow it did many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harrassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.

After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortal god. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare away Nian in case it sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.

From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term "Guo Nian", which may mean "Survive the Nian" becomes today "Celebrate the (New) Year" as the word "guo" in Chinese having both the meaning of "pass-over" and "observe". The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around.

However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.

The biggest and most celebrated festival in China and south east Asia. New Year's Eve dinner is the most important event when the whole family is present. Special foods are served and more meat than the usual is prepared. Fireworks will break the night, scaring the demons and bad luck away. Pictures of the Door Gods will be posted on the outside door with couples limned in bright red. Folk art poster, paper cutting and lucky wordings on bright red paper will be posted on the wall and windows.

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:42:24 |Display all floors

3.The Lantern Festival

It marks the end of the Chinese New Year Season, always 15 days after Lunar New Year Day. Lantern exhibits, lion and dragon dances, and eating Tang Yuan (ball-shaped boiled sweet rice dumplings with delicious stuffings) are events today. It is very much celebrated in the rural areas by farmers.

The Eve of the New Year is very carefully observed. Supper is a feast, with all members coming together. One of the most popular course is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chinese literally mean "sleep together and have sons", a long-lost good wish for a family. After dinner, it is time for the whole family to sit up for the night while having fun playing cards or board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the ocassion. Every light is supposed to be kept on the whole night. At midnight, the whole sky will be lit up by fireworks and firecrackers make everywhere seem like a war zone. People's excitement reach its zenith.

Very early the next morning, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms of cash wrapped up in red paper packages from them. Then, the family start out to say greetings from door to door, first their relatives and then their neighbors. It is a great time for reconciliation. Old grudges are very easily cast away during the greetings. The air is permeated with warmth and friendliness. During and several days following the New Year's day, people are visiting each other, with a great deal of exchange of gifs. The New Year atmosphere is brought to an anti-climax fifteen days away where the Festival of Lanterns sets in. It is an occasion of lantern shows and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is the Tang Yuan, another kind of dumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls and stuffed with either sweet or spicy fillings.

The Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year season and afterwards life becomes daily routines once again. This description is based upon the recollection of my own experience. Customs of observing the New Year vary from place to place, considering that China is a big country not only geographically, but also demographically and ethnically. Yet, the spirit underlying the diverse celebrations of the Chinese New Year is the same: a sincere wish of peace and happiness for the family members and friends.

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:44:02 |Display all floors

4.Qingming - The Clear & Bright Festival

A day when people visit cemeteries to pay respect to their departed ancestors.

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:44:59 |Display all floors

5.Dragon Boat Festival

It is in memory of a great patriot poet of the State of Chu during the warring States period (475-221 B.C.), Qu Yuan who drowned himself to protest his emperor who gave in to the bully State of Chin. To avoid the fish to consume his body, people of Chin launched their boats and threw rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish. People today still eat the bamboo-leaf rice dumplings (zong zi). Teams of dragon boats, similar to long canoes, train for weeks for the contests in this day, not only in China, but also in other Asian countries with Chinese populations.

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Post time 2004-10-23 12:48:25 |Display all floors

6.Qixi Festival--Chinese Valentine's Day

The Qixi tale embodies several layers of rebelliousness: The daughter's free will to love someone without the consent of her parents, an "upper-class" girl overcoming the social barrier to marry a poor farmer, and a fairy princess giving up her eternal life to bond with a mere mortal. However, it is essentially a tragedy because they have to pine for each other on 364 days of a year.

Qixi immortalizes one moment that is ephemeral and fast-fleeting. As the poem Magpie Bridge (que qiao xian) comments, "When love is ever-lasting, why should we care about all the mornings and all the nights?" But Valentine's Day, to those blissfully ignorant of the old, equally sad source story, represents a "seize-the-day-while-you-can" spirit. It gives vent to affection and passion, which Qixi and hundreds of other Chinese love stories from the ancient times have couched in euphemism and restrained expressions.

Valentine's Day, in the eyes of the young, is not so much a substitute for Qixi, but rather an extension of the love theme as well as a more accurate reflection of their more candid ways of emotional display.

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