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Thursday, June 16, 2011

China Spring Festival

The Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st month in Chinese lunar calendar, originated in the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.-1100 B.C.) from the people's sacrifice to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one. As the most important festival for the Chinese, it is the time when all family members get reunion.

On December 8th in the lunar calendar, laba porridge is made in many households. It is a kind of delicious porridge with glutinous rice, millet, seeds of Job's tears, jujube berries, lotus seeds, beans, longan and gingko, according to different taste of different people and regions, there are also some other ingredients used in laba porridge.

December 23 in the lunar calendar is called Preliminary Eve when people offer sacrifice to the kitchen god and prepare bumper food to enjoy themselves.

On the New Year's Eve, all family members get together to enjoy a more luxurious meal and before the meal, people serve all the dishes on the table and burning fireworks to call on the spirits of passing away ancetors to come back to enjoy the festival together with the whole family. After the dinner, the whole family will sit together, chatting and watching Spring Festival Gala Evening. Right on 12:00 this night, every household would again burn fireworks, symbolizing the welcome of the coming of new year.
Waking up on New Year, everybody dresses up, they extend greetings to their parents and seniority. Then red envelopes are sent to little kids. For the first meal in the new year, in northern China, dumplings (jiaozi) are taken for Jiaozi embodies "bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new". While in South China, Niangao is taken, symbolizes "higher and higher, better and better."

The first five days after the Spring Festival are always regarded as good chance for visiting relatives, friends, classmates and colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and chat leisurely.

Since there are 56 ethnic groups in China. Different customs for celebrating Spring Festival are to some degree maintain their own features, while generally speaking, they bear the same philosophy that it is a time for family reunion and relaxing after a busy year's hard work.
Family reunion to make and eat dumplings

gifts and red envelop

Perfermance in Spring Festival temple fair

Paper-cut of "fu"

paste paper-cut with mom

fireworks on Spring Festival
So happy, get a big red envelop?

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