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The Spring Festival
The Spring Festival The Most Important Holiday in China
The Timing of the Holiday The Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year is on the 1 st day of the 1 st lunar month. The date for this annual celebration is determined by the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, so the timing of the holiday varies from late January to early February.
To the ordinary Chinese, the festival actually begins on the eve of the lunar New Year's Day and ends on the fifth day of the first month of the lunar calendar. But the 15 th of the first month, which normally is called the Lantern Festival, means the official end of the Spring Festival in many parts of the country.
The Legend of Nian Monster
The Legend of Nian Monster • In ancient times, there was a monster called "Nian" ("year") that would come out to eat people and animals on the eve of last day of last lunar month. To avoid the monster's attack, people would flee to the depth of the mountains and call this day "Nian Guan" (meaning "the Pass of Nian"). On one of the eve, there came an old beggar in Peach Blossom Village, where an old lady gave him some food and asked him to hide himself in the mountain to avoid the monster Nian.
The Legend of Nian Monster • The old man promised that he could drive the monster away as long as he was put up for the night at the old lady's home. Being unable to persuade the old man into hiding in the mountain, the old lady went alone. In the middle of the night, the monster Nian dashed into the village. He trembled and cried when he saw the red paper on the door of the old lady's house, which was brightly lit. Just as the monster reached the entrance, there came blasting sounds that prevented him from moving any further.
The Legend of Nian Monster • At that time, the old man, wearing a red robe, opened the door and the monster was scared away. Actually, the color red, firelight and blasting sounds were things the monster feared most. After that, on every New Year's Eve, every household would paste red couplets, let off firecrackers and light candles as well as stay up the whole night to avoid being attacked by the monster. This is how these customs came into being.
Celebration Activities Do the Spring Cleaning Paste red couplets Let off firecrackers Light candles or lamps Put on new clothes
Celebration Activities Stay up all night Family Get together and have Family Reunion Dinner on the New Year eve Make and eat dumplings Visit friends and relatives and Express best wishes to each other Give or receiver red envelopes
Modern Practice Watch Spring Festival Special TV Programs Order or have a reunion dinner of the New year eve in a restaurant Have a travel
Auspicious food for Spring Festival • Dumpling （JIAOZI） • New Year Cake ( Glutinous Rice Cake, NIANGAO) (or other raised food) • Fish • Chicken • Pork (for non Muslim family) • Tofu • Bean sprouts • Bamboo Shoots • ….
Dumpling （JIAOZI） The Symbolic Meaning of JIAOZI 1. In China, the most traditional and popular Spring Festival food is dumpling, which looks like the moon with vegetables and meat mixed in it. The Chinese name of dumpling is “JIAO ZI”, ”JIAO” means ”cross”, ”ZI” is Chinese traditional time represents “ 24: 00”, so the Chinese word “JIAO ZI”(交子) means “cross 24: 00”, just the dividing point of last year and next year. So when it comes to 24: 00, every family begins eating dumplings.
The Symbolic Meaning of JIAOZI 2. Chinese Dumplings look like silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during New Year celebration, the more money you can make in the New Year. they symbolize money and great fortune.
"New Year Cake" • "New Year Cake" is a kind of Glutinous Rice Cake. In South China, during the New Year, there are many sweet pastries to try (more so than in the North). Sweet pastries are not normally consumed in the Chinese diet, but they are considered special treats for festive occasions. • homophone for "promotion step by step"
Fish • In Chinese, Fish sounds like “surplus” or "save more". Chinese People always like save more money at the end of year because they think if they save more, they can make more in the next year.
Auspicious food for Spring Festival • Chicken is homophone for “auspicious”. • Tofu is homophone for “good luck to all the family”. • Pork is symbolic for great fortune or good luck because of the fat image of pig. • Bean sprouts and Bamboo Shoots symbolize “prosperous” for their quick growth.
Idioms an Allusions • 瑞雪兆丰年： A timely snow promises a good harvest. • 人逢喜事精神爽： Joy puts heart into a man. • 岁岁平安 Safe and sound all year round. • 招财进宝： Money and treasures will be plentiful 逢凶化吉 turn ill luck into good
Words for the Spring Festival 春节 The Spring Festival 农历 lunar calendar 正月 lunar January; the first month by lunar calendar 除夕 New Year's Eve; eve of lunar New Year 初一 the beginning of New Year 元宵节 The Lantern Festival 过年 Guo-nian; have the Spring Festival 对联 poetic couplet: two successive rhyming lines in poetry 春联 Spring Festival couplets 剪纸 paper-cuts 年画 New Year paintings 买年货 special purchases for the Spring Festival ; do Spring Festival shopping
敬酒 propose a toast 灯笼 lantern: a portable light 烟花 fireworks 爆竹 firecrackers 红包 red packets 舞狮 lion dance 舞龙 dragon dance (to expect good weather and good harvests) 戏曲 traditional opera 杂耍 variety show; vaudeville 灯谜 riddles written on lanterns 灯会 exhibit of lanterns 守岁 staying-up 拜年 pay New Year's call; give New Year's greetings 去晦气 get rid of the ill- fortune 祭祖宗 offer sacrifices to one's ancestors 压岁钱 gift money; money given to children as a lunar New Year gift 辞旧岁 bid farewell to the old year 扫房 spring cleaning; general house-cleaning
Follow-up Activity • How is the Spring Festival celebrated in your hometown? Are there any special customs for the festival in your hometown?
May the season's joy fill you all the year round ! Thank you