04 February 2008

Spring Festival

The next few entries are likely to be stories about the Spring Festival in China, as many Westerners who read this blog probably do not know its rich traditions and meanings.

The Spring Festival is the most important festival for the Chinese people and is when all family members get together, just like Christmas in the West. All people living away from home go back, becoming the busiest time for transportation systems of about half a month from the Spring Festival.
  • New Year’s Eve dinner: On the night of New Year's Eve, Chinese families come together for a celebration dinner.

  • Firecracker: Since New Year’s Eve comes, the sound of firecrackers will not disappear. Playing firecrackers is the necessary custom in New Year’s Eve.

  • Spring Festival Scrolls: Spring Festival couplets consist of two paper scrolls, inscribed with auspicious sayings, pasted vertically on either side of the door.

  • Spring Festival Gala on CCTV: Ever since its debut over two decades ago, the Spring Festival Gala has developed into an occasion that most Chinese find it hard to ignore at the New Year’s Eve.

  • New Year Visit: Very early the first day of New Year, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms of cash wrapped up in red paper packages from them.

  • Temple Fair: During the Spring Festival, temple fair is one of the most important activities, and a traditional cultural event that features all kinds of Chinese folk art.

  • Chunyun: Chunyun refers to the extremely high traffic load of transportation in China around the time of Chinese New Year.

  • Sacrifice to the Kitchen God: The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month is called Preliminary Eve, or xiaonian (accurately on January 30 of the 2008 Gregorian calendar). It is the day when people offer sacrifices to the Kitchen God. Now however, most families make delicious food to enjoy themselves.
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