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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Traditional China Festival

The most important traditional China festivals include Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Double Seventh Festival, Zhongyuan Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Ninth Festival, Winter Solstice Festival and Laba Festival.

1.Spring Festival
Spring Festival, as mentioned before, is regarded as the most important festival in China. It is the beginning of the new year and there are quite a lot legends and stories about Spring Festival. Pasting paper-cut, New Year scrolls, burning fireworks, eating jiaozi are all traditional customs in China. In terms of Spring Festival, there are lot details to be discussed with, Onlinechinatours offers more useful information.

New Year scrolls

2.Latern Festival
Latern Festival falls on January 15th in the lunar calendar. As it is calles Latern Festival, from the literary explanation, it is easy to see there is some connection with laterns. Yes, watching lanterns is one of the most important customs this day, especially in the night. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting numerous visitors stop to have a lood. It is said in ancient times, there are also riddle-guessing laterns hanging by the government or local rich families to amuse the public and also some small gifts are prepared for winners in riddle guessing. Maybe there are still some places maintains this custom.

As a country famous for its cate, can Latern Festival be excluded? Certainly not, yuanxiao is the traditional food this day, so Latern Festival is also called "Yuanxiao Festival". Yuanxiao, small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling has another name, tangyuan, which can be boiled, fried or steamed, tasting sweet and delicious, symbolizing reunion in Chinese, embodying people's wish for union, harmony and happiness.

On the day, performances such as dragon dance, lion dance, land boat dance, yangge, walking on stilts and beating drums while dancing will be staged on the daytime. On the night, magnificent lanterns present an unforgettable image, meanwhile fireworks form another beautiful scene. Most families spare some fireworks from the Spring Festival to let off in the Lantern Festival. Sometimes, local governments may even organize a fireworks party. Since it is the first night of full moon after entering the New Year, the imposing fireworks and bright moon in the sky enchanted not a few.

Dragon dance

Red laterns

3.Qingming Festival
Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases, telling farmers to go spring plowing and sowing. Except for being a seasonal point, it is more a festival for commemoration.
Both the Han and minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. In ancient times, people would not cook on this day and only had some served cold food. This was called Hanshi (Cold Food) Festival, which was usually one day before the Qingming Festival.

It is a festival of both sadness and happiness. Besides commemoration, people also love to fly kites and plant trees during this time for the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, and the breeze is warm.
Qingming stuffed bun, a kind of glutinous rice bun mixed with Artemisia argyi, and filled in meat, vegetables as stuffing, appearing jade and tasting savoury is the traditional food to taste in this festival.

Flying kites in this time is really a good idea

Want to have a bite?

4.Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival falls on May 5 in Chinese lunar calendar, it has already had a history of over 2,000 years. It is a traditional day used for commemorating Quyuan, a famous Chinese patriotic poet.   
It is well-known that Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival, held all over the country. And "Zongzi" is an important part of the Dragon Boat Festival. What's more, on Dragon Boat Festival, parents would also dress their children up with a perfume pouch, that is, little bags with colorful silk cloth, and filled with perfumes or herbal medicines, finally string with silk threads. They will be hung around the neck or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament, embodying parent's wish to protect their children away from evil spirits.

5.Double Seventh Festival
Double Seventh Festival, is Chinese valentine's day, falling on July 7th in Chinese lunar calendar. At night when the sky is clear, the Milky Way spanning from the north to the south, we can see on each bank of the river lying a particularly bright star, looking at each other from afar, who are the Cowherd and Weaver Maid according to Chinese myths, whose moving love story passed down from generation to generation.

Also, in ancient times, women would take out their sewing and embroidery to sit together, prying for better skills in sewing and embroidery from Weaver Maid, so Double Seventh Festival is also called "Qiqiao Jie".

6.Zhongyuan Festival
Zhongyuan Festival falls on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, which is also called Hungry Ghost Festival. In ancient days, this day was solemn, people make sacrificial altars and offering pigs, sheep, chicken, geese and cakes, fruits of all kinds  on the altar as sacrifice. However, nowadays, people usually burn incense and paper money in front of the door of each household. In some regions, water lanterns, in lotus flower-shaped are flowed, which are believed to flow direct to the ghosts. In the night, all shops are closed to leave the street to the ghosts.

7.Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on August 15th in Chinese lunar month, as originally a festival for commerating Chang'E and Hou Yi, according to Chinese folklores. Besides Spring Festival, it is another important occasion for a family to get together. They would enjoy a big meal together and sitting in the yard to enjoy the bright full moon and eat moon cakes. Though in different places, customs for celebrating the festival varied, the desire for expecting their love and better life are the same. 
Mooncakes with tea

8.Double Ninth Festival
In Yi jing (Book of Changes), "6" was regarded as feminine or negative, while number "9" was thought to be Yang, representing masculine and positive. So Double Ninth Festival falls on 9th of the 9th month in Chinese lunar calendar also called Chongyang Festival. Double ninth was pronounced the same to "Jiu", literally means "forever" in Chinese. The Chinese ancestors considered it an auspicious day worth celebration.

The Double Ninth Festival is also called "Height Ascending Festival" for there handing down a custom of ascending a height to avoid epidemics. Double Ninth Cake is the representative food on this day, which has no fixed ways of making, but super cakes will have as many as nine layers, looking like a tower. Chrysanthemum wine is a widely favored drink on the festival.

9.Winter Solstice Festival
It is one of the 24 seasonal division points, falling on December 21 or 22. In some parts of Northern China, dumpling soup is taken on this day; while some other places have dumplings, which is believed to keep them from frost in the upcoming winter. While in South China, the whole family will get together to have a meal made of red-bean and glutinous rice. People of the same clan will get gather at ancestral temples to worship their ancestors and enjoy a grand banquet after the sacrificial ceremony.

10.Laba Festival
It is a festival always connected with the Spring Festival, falling on 8th of the 12th month of Chinese lunar calendar. Laba porridge is the typical food on this day.

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