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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 year.

 

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 month

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 eaten.

 

Event: Qingming

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.

Source:
The Story of the Chinese Valentine's Day
Double Seven Festival
Qi Xi - the Chinese Valentine's Day

 

Event: Chongyang

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.

Source:
Double Ninth Festival
Chongyang Festival

 

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