The Spring Festival (Chun Jie)-Chinese
The Spring Festival is the biggest traditional festival in China. It falls on the first day of the first month by the Chinese lunar calendar or farming calendar - in late January or mid February. It has been celebrated for some 4,000 years.
In the past, however, it was not called Spring Festival (Chun Jie) but New Year's Day (Guo Nian), After the fall of the last feudal dynasty and the establishment of a republic in 1911, when tge Gregorian calendar was officially adopted, people began calling the first day of the first month by the Gregorian calendar New Year's Day, and the first day of the first month by the lunar calendar the spring Festival.
Of course there is a legend about the Chinese New yar. In ancient China there was a strange savage beast the came out on the night of every 30the day of the 12the lunar month. It was called the Nian. One such New Year's Eve the nian came to a village, accidentally encountering two boys who were trying to see who could crack their whip the best. The Nian was so scared by the cracking sound that it ran away forever. It came to a second village where two read gowns hung up on a door to dry scared it away again. It came to a third village, this time to be frightened away by lights. From this, people learned that the Nian was afraid of three things: Noise, red, and lights. To defend themselves against the Nian, they devised many methods that gradually found their way into the customs observed at the New year Celebrations,
In fact, in ancient Chinese lexicons the character nian meant "harvest". In the classic Chronicles of the Spring and Autumn Perod( Zuoshi Chunqiu), nian is Defined as " the ripening ofhte five principal cereals". Therefore, " Having nian" meant having a cumper harvest. This usage is still in use today.
Although China has a large territory and many races living together, most of them share the customs of Spring Festival.
On the eve of the Spring Festival, Chinese, whether northerners or southerners, enjoy a family reunion sitting around a stove, feasting and chatting well into the night or even until daybreak. Early the nest morning they eat dumplings or New Year cakes. Then they start visiting their relatives and friends, and receive them.
Another popular custom is pasting Spring Couplets(chun lian) on their gates expressing their reflections on the past year and their hopes for the coming one. This custom has existed for over a thousand years.
The first couplets written in history were these two lines:
A New Year to Take in Surplus Fortune. A Fine Festival to Call in Eternal Spring.
People also like to decorate their rooms with New year pictures and their windows with paper cuts, adding more festive atmosphere.
"Amidst the sound of firecrackers, the year is out" Setting off firecrackers during the Spring Festival Brings happy excitement to people in general and the children in particular. At night, firecrackers are set off in the centers of cities and towns, and in the farmer's courtyards in the countryside as well, a colorful and lively scene for everybody.
To make the occasion even more festive, people light flower-decorated lanterns. Some are hung in the house, some on the doorway, others are made for the children to carry around here and there for everybody.
To make the occasion even more festive, people light flower decorated lanterns. Some are hung in the house, some on the doorway, others are made for the children to carry around here and there for fun.
Other popular things during the Spring Festival are the widely popular yangge folk dance, walking and performing on stilts, the lion dance, dramas,, operas, the land boat dance, the dragon lanter dance, etc.