With time-honored history of more than 5000 years,China enjoys many traditional festivals, all of which are the great reflection of profound Chinese culture. Chinese Festival page introduces the most important traditional festivals in China, ranging from Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Tom-sweeping Day to Dragon Festival and Mid-autumn Day. Each festival has its own significance , feature and celebration forms. After discovering them, you will get more ideas about Chinese culture.
Spring Festival is one of the most important and ceremonious festival in China, which is from the first day to the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar. Spring Festival to China, what Christmas to America. About one month ahead of the spring festival, people will get preparation for it, such as cleaning house, do shopping and making storable food. For celebrating the festival, people will hang couplets and red lanterns onto the doors, and play firecrackers delightfully, and everywhere is permeated with holiday atmosphere.
Another important thing for the Spring Festival is family reunion and people working far away from home will get back home for family reunion. On the family union dinner, people will usually enjoy the appetizing family reunion dinner together. On the family reunion dinner, the young express best wishes and toast for the elder's health and happiness. On the family reunion dinner, children will get the lucky money from the elder after saying "Happy New Year" to the elder.
On the first day of the festival, children will dress their new clothes and pay a new year's visit to their relatives, then they will give them new year's money. In the following days, people will pay a new year's visit to relatives and friends, and expressing their good wishes to the next year to each other. The last day, on the 15th day of the festival, would be the world-famous Lantern Festival.
Since Spring Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, there is still some taboos about it. During Spring Festival, unlucky behaviors and words should be avoided because those bad things may happen if these words are spoken out. Such words as bad, dead, kill, ache and the likes are not welcome. Moreover, water should not be sprinkled out of the house, which may bring bad luck to the new year. Also when holding the fragile articles like plates, cups and glasses, the one should be particularly careful and never break them. What is more, neither sweeping the floor nor cutting hair is welcome on the spring festival. While different regions have different taboos on the Spring Festival.
Mid-autumn day, anther traditional festival in China, is celebrated on August 15th in lunar calendar every year. On the mid-autumn day, the full moon will appear, which symbolizes reunion in Chinese cultures, so the mid-autumn day is also called Reunion Festival. Since mid-autumn day is an important festival in China, there are some traditional customs for this festival.
Customs for Mid-autumn Day
Moon worship is a quite time-honored tradition in China, which could be traced back to Zhou dynasty in ancient Chinese history. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation. In modern times, people usually display moon cakes as well as other fruits on the table in the yard. After moon has eaten the moon cakes, they will retreat the table and eat the worshiped moon cakes with family members to pray for health and happiness.
Appreciating the Moon
Appreciating the moon is another activity for the mid-autumn day. On the night of mid-autumn day, the moon is particularly round and bright. Families will sit together and appreciate the moon while eating moon cakes. On this night, people far away from home would be quite homesick and they would express best wishes for their family while watching the moon alone.
The delicately-shaped moon cake is a must-have for the Mid-autumn Day, which is made of flour filled with various kinds of fillings like nuts, eggs, beans and fruits. Since full moon symbolizes family reunion in Chinese reunion, moon cakes are usually round-shaped. That is why eating mooncakes on mid-autumn day could arouse the missing of distant relatives.
Lantern Festival is another important festival in China, which is celebrated on the 15th of the first month in lunar calendar every year. Lantern festival marks the end of the Spring Festival. The lantern festival of 2013 falls on February 24. There are some traditional customs and activities for lantern festival, which has been introduced as follows.
On the Lantern Festival, splendid lanterns show would be displayed and lanterns of different shaps could be seen everywhere, which attracts uncountable visitors. Accompanying lanterns, various fireworks would be lighted, which explore and disperse into different shapes in the dark sky successively. Everywhere is permeated with delightful atmosphere on the night of lantern festival.
Guessing lantern riddles is another important recreational activity in the Lantern Festival. Each lantern contains a riddle and people will guess it, which is very interesting. If someone has an answer to a riddle, he can pull the paper from the lantern and ask the organizers to verify the answer. If the answer is right, then little gifts would be presented. Since this intellectual activity is very exciting and interesting, guessing riddles on the lantern festival is quite popular among many people, old and young, man and women.
Another important activity for the festival is the exciting folk dances, such as Lion Dance and Walking on the Stilts. In the lion dance, two dancers, on for the lion's head, the other for the loin's tail, are dressed up like big lions. The dancers take coordinated and rhythmic steps and perform with the music of loud gongs and drums. Sometimes, it jumps, sometimes it roars. Another representative folk dance during the lantern festival is walking on the stilts. The performers' feet are bended onto the stilts and they walks on stilts. Dressed up gorgeously, the performers impersonate different animals, such as monks, clowns, fishermen and the likes, which appeals many visitors.
Eating Yuan Xiao
As for food, people usually eat ball-shaped sweet dumplings in this festival,also called Yuanxiao in Chinese, which is made of glutinous rice flour filled diversified fillings. So the Lantern Festival is also called Yuanxiao Festival.
Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Festival, another traditional festival in China, falls on the May 5th in lunar calendar every year, which is celebrated to commemorate an ancient patriotic poet named Qu Yuan. Customs on this festival are listed as follows:
Eating Rice Dumpling (Zong zi)
On the Dragon Boat Festival, people will eat the triangle-shaped rice dumplings, zong zi literally in Chinese, which is made of glutinous rice filled with different kinds of fillings like dates, nuts and beans. Many families made rice dumplings at home by themselves. After the rice with fillings is prepared, people will wrap the rice with reed leaves into triangle-shape and then boil it for 20 minutes.
Dragon Boat Racing
Another important activity on this festival is holding Dragon Boat race in honor of the great poem Qu Yuan. On the dragon boat racing, a competition would be held between the two teams. The one who reach the final destination first is the winner. It was said that the winning team would bring harvest and happiness to the people of their villages.Generally, a team member stands in front of the boat and beats the drum to keep the delightful spirit of other members. In the competition, team work spirit is essentially needed.
Making Fragrant Handicrafts for Children
What is more, people will hang a special wormwood named Ai on the front door to drive out evil spirits. Moreover, women will make handicrafts with different ships and fill them with special fragrant ingredients. After finished, they will hang the delicate handicraft to the kids' necks to pray for their healthy and happiness.
The Chinese Valentines' Day
The Chinese Valentines' Day, also know as Double Seventh Festival, is another traditional festival in China, which is celebrated on July 7th in lunar calendar every year and is particularly popular among young valentines.
About the origin of this festival, there comes a legend. It was told that there was a poor cow boy, who felt in love with a weaving girl, 7th daughter of Emperor of Heaven. They lived a happy life and had two babies. When the Emperor of Heaven heard this, she got angry and take the weaving girl back to heaven, while the cowboy held the hands of the weaving girl tightly. Seeing this, the Emperor of Heaven drew the silver river with her hairpin between them and they were separated eventually. The weaving girl was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowboy moved to the star Altair. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the day of 7th day of July lunar month.
It was legendarily told that on the Double Seventh Day, people could see the weaving girl and cowboy's dating on the Silver River. If you hide yourself under the fruit trellis, you might overhear the honey conversations between cowboy and weaving girl on this night.
On the Chinese Valentine's Day, people in love usually go to the Matchmaker's Temple to pray for their love and possible marriage. People still single will do the same thing to ask for good luck of love in the Matchmaker's temple. On this romantic night, girls usually set tables with fruits displayed to pray for intelligence and sweet love.
Tomb-sweeping Day, also known as pure brightness day, is one of the most important traditional festivals in China, which usually falls onto 4th, 5th or 6th of April. On the tomb-sweeping day, people will visit their ancestors' graves and mourn for the dead, burning incense, offering food and paper coins. They will also clean the grave area, such as getting rid of weeds growing around the tomb and removing dust on the tomb-grave. After that, some flowers would also be presented. People usually refresh earth, sacrifice and show flows to their ancestor's on this special day.
During the days around Qingming, everything is recovered and refreshed, so many outdoor activities like traveling around, flying kites and planting trees are favored by many people.