Event: Chinese New Year
Date: The first day of a year in lunar calendar, usually between late
Jan and early Feb
Activities: fireworks display, visiting and
greeting, Yangke dancing, lion and dragon dancing, holding temple fairs and
many other great folklore-inspection events.
Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the new Year
was perhaps the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This was a time for
the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed
through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the
new year. Common expressions heard at this time are: GUONIAN to have
made it through the old year, and BAINIAN to congratulate the new
Event: Lantern Festival
Date: 15th of the first lunar month
Activities: Lanterns expositions, garden parties,
firework displays and folk dances.
The New Year celebrations ended on the 15th of the First
Moon with the Lantern Festival. In the legend, the Jade Emperor in
Heaven was so angered at a town for killing his favorite goose, that he
decided to destroy it with a storm of fire. However, a good-hearted fairy
heard of this act of vengeance, and warned the people of the town to light
lanterns throughout the town on the appointed day. The townsfolk did as they
were told, and from the Heavens, it looked as if the village was ablaze.
Satisfied that his goose had already been avenged, the Jade Emperor decided
not to destroy the town. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary
of their deliverance by carried lanterns of different shapes and colors
through the streets on the first full moon of the year, providing a
spectacular backdrop for lion dances, dragon dances, and fireworks.
Event: Dragon Boat Festival
Date: Date: 5th day of the 5th lunar
Activities: Dragon Boat races and
eating Zong Zi (pyramid shaped rice wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves
Originally a religious practice, it is now
purely recreational. The Dragon Boat festival celebrates the death of the
poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the 3rd Century BC as a protest against
a corrupt government. The legends are that the towns people attempted to
rescue him by beating drums to scare fish away from eating his body and
threw rice dumplings into the river to tempt the fish away from their hero.
Event: Mid-Autumn Festival
Date: 15th of the 8th lunar month
Activities: Dragon Boat racing, enjoying moonlight
and eating moon cakes.
Probably the second most important festival in the
Chinese calendar, Zhong qiu has ancient origins. Occurring on the 15th day
of the 17th lunar month (usually some time around the end of September/start
of October) the Mid-autumn festival celebrates the moon. Traditionally a
time for poets and lovers, in Chinese symbolism the moon symbolizes unity
and wholeness and is a time for reunion of families. Abundant meals are
eaten during the festival and moon cakes, round pastries filled with nuts,
dried fruits, preserved flowers, sesame and/or marinated beef or bacon are
Date: 12th of the 3rd lunar month, usually around April 4th or 5th.
Activities: Cleaning ancestors' graves and holding
memorial ceremonies, spring outing, and flying kites
This is a time when ice and snow has gone and plants are
beginning to grow again, and is a time for respect to ancestors. The graves
of deceased relatives are swept and tended, the memory of the dead cherished
and offering of food may be made. To assist ancestors in the afterlife 'Bank
of Hell' money is burned, thereby transferring money to the ancestors to
spend as they will. Qing Ming is often marked by an indulgence of the
Chinese passion for kite flying.
Event: QiXi (Double seven) Festival
Date: 7th day of the 7th lunar month lunar month
Activities: In the past, girls would conduct a ceremony to beg Zhinu for wisdom, dexterity and a satisfying marriage in the future.
The Double Seventh Festival, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, is a traditional festival full of romance. It originated from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.) Qi Xi is the Chinese equivilant of the "Valentine's Day". Legend has it that long, long ago, there was an honest and kind-hearted orphane named Niu Lang (Cowhand). He fell in love with Zhi Nu (Weaver Maid), a fairy, also the 7th daughter of Emperor of Heaven. They got married in secret on earth. The Emperor found the sky's not that beautiful as before without the 7th daughter weaving clouds and rainbows. He wanted his daughter's grandmother to find the missing daughter and to bring her back. While the 7th princess was flying to the Heaven with her grandmother, the cowboy wore the ox hide, took his children in two bamboo baskets with his wife's old fairy clothes and chased after his wife in the sky. To stop him, the grandmother made a milky way in the sky with her hairpin, which kept them separated on the two ends of the milky way. Their loyalty and love touched magpies and many of them gathered and formed a bridge for the couple to meet in the evening of Qi Xi (the 7th day of the 7th lunar month), which is the day the Emperor allowed them to meet once a year. Sadly, this tradition in China is dying, as more youngsters are more aware of Valentine's Day.
The Story of the Chinese Valentine's Day
Double Seven Festival
Qi Xi - the Chinese Valentine's Day
Date: The 9th day of the 9th lunar month
Activities: Eat Double Ninth Gao, moutain/hill climbing
Traditional Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival took place on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. It usually falls in October in the westerm calendar. The custom of ascending a height to avoid epidemics was passed down from long time ago. Therefore, the Double Ninth Festival is also called "Height Ascending Festival". Early in the Western Han Dynasty, about 2,000 years ago, people used to climb a high platform outside the capital city of Chang'an on the occasion of the Chongyang Festival. For many, it was the last outing of the year before the onset of winter. The custom evolved into its present form, when people go climbing to get some exercise as well as enjoy the autumn scenery. The height people will reach is usually a mountain or a tower. Ancient literary figures have left many poems depicting the activity. Even today, people still swarm to famous or little known mountains on this day. On this day, people will eat Double Ninth Gao (or Cake). In Chinese, gao (cake) has the same pronunciation with gao (height). People do so just to hope progress in everything they are engaged in. There is no fixed ways for the Double Ninth Cake, but super cakes will have as many as nine layers, looking like a tower. In 1989, the Chinese government decided the Double Ninth Festival as Seniors' Day. Since then, all government units, organizations and streets communities will organize an autumn trip each year for those who have retired from their posts. At the waterside or on the mountains, the seniors will find themselves merged into nature. Younger generations will bring elder ones to suburban areas or send gifts to them on this day.
Double Ninth Festival