Happy New Year Everyone! Today is the 2nd day of Chinese New Year on the year of monkey. We have totally different festivals than in western countries and many people are curious about it so I think it would be nice to list out and explain some of the festivals. The date of the festival is conducted in the Luna Calendar that might varies from the western calendar. Let’s get some festive vibes started!
Chinese New Year, 1st day of the Luna Calendar, in February
Chinese New Year is probably the most important festival in China, when the whole family have to gather around and celebrate, just like Christmas in western countries. CNY is a period overlapping the New Year.
Since Chinese are cautious about idea of Luck so there’s a lot of interesting traditions that need to be followed. For example, we have to clean our house before new year eve and all the dirt have to swipe out of the house since it symbolizing all the bad luck are out. And we have to wear new cloths and red colored underwear symbolizing a new start with good luck to the bottom!
On new year day, we have to visit different relative, according to our generations, the youngest to meet the oldest. We have to propose greetings for good lucks like 心想事成 means things come as you wish or 龍馬精神 mean being energetic for a whole year!
Food are really important in every festivals in China, New year food are what we call symbolic dishes, whether they look or named after luck.
端午節 Dragon Boat Festival, in June
Dragon Boat festival is another big festival in China, it’s a festival for getting rid of the dirty sprite in the house and commemorates the death of the good hearted poet and minister QuYuan.
The most popular activity is Dragon Boat riding, a ceremony for scaring out the bad luck and sprit. The long narrow boat itself is decorated like a dragon, with head and tail, ride by around 22 panderers 2 by 2 and a drummer in front as controlling the tempo. 粽Zong is a sticky rice with different fillings wrapped with bamboo leaf, the traditional food for dragon boat festival, serve with steaming or boiling it. The myth behind Zong is by throwing them into the river in order to prevent fishes or creatures eating the body of QuYuan.
盂蘭節Ghost Festival, in August
It’s a very special festival the specialized for passes away sprits according to Buddhist belief. Chinese believed in ghost that were trapped in Chinese hell and in 14th June, the door of hell will be opened once a year. Family will be doing ceremony for their ancestors to return home, preparing meals and burning paper goods like food, cars or even servant for them to enjoy in afterlife. Religious master will ceremony for wandering ghost to get into better place and Chinese theater will be performing outdoor for entertaining the ghosts as well.
There’s certainly things that we can’t say that day like can’t say the word ‘ghost’ directly when avoiding to bump into them or any bad luck.
中秋節Mid- Autumn Festival, in September
Mid-Autumn Festival is another most important festival in China. It’s obviously a festival the middle of autumn, celebrating the great amount of harvest of the year hard work when China was supported by agriculture. The full moon in that time also symbolizing the united of the family.
Moon cake is a tasty traditional sweet pastry for Mid-Autumn Festival, which is filled with lotus seed paste crust and contain yolks from salted duck eggs. After the gathering dinner, family will go out for a walk or night picnic under the full moon and ever with seasonal fruits and snacks and kids will play with lanterns.