What is Spring Festival？
Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, often one month later than the Gregorian Calendar. It originated in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC - 1100 BC) when people always sacrificed to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
Strictly speaking, Spring Festival starts the end of the 12th lunar month and will last till the mid 1st lunar month of the next year. The most important days are Spring Festival Eve and the first three days. Most people will have a week off , this time is known as “Golden Week”.
Spring Festival Tavel Rush
Spring Festival is the most important festival for Chinese people and is when all family members get together, just like Christmas in the West. All people living away from home go back which makes it the busiest time for transportation systems. Airports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations are crowded with people leave or return home.
Family Reunion Dinner
Spring Festival is a time for Chinese to get the whole family reunion. On Chinese New Year’s Eve (Chu Xi), the whole family always sit at table to have a big dinner to celebrate new year together. This meal is usually made by the entire family, and that makes it the most important and meaningful meal of the year. Some of the dishes contain beautiful and best wishes for the coming new year.
Lighting firecrackers used to be one of the most important customs in Spring Festival celebrations. However, concerning the danger and the noises that lighting firecrackers may bring, the government has banned it in many major cities. However people in small towns and rural areas still hold this traditional celebration. At 12 o’clock on New Year’s Eve, cities and towns are lit up with the glitter from fireworks, and the sound can be deafening.
Red Packet/Lucky Money
Children love Spring Festival because they can receive red packets! A red packet is simply a red envelope with lucky money in it, which symbolizes luck and wealth. In Chinese traditional culture, red is considered as a lucky color and a red packet is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune to the receivers. Traditionally, elder generations give red packets to the younger generations. Nowadays, this extends to close friends, neighbors, and even some companies give year-end bonus by red packets.
The Chinese zodiac are comprised of 12 animals in the sequence of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The coming new year is the year of Rat. Each animal represents a different “personality”. According to legend, people held a conference with all the animals, informing them the first 12 animals would be named the 12 representatives of the zodiac. However, in spite of being fast, the cat was not picked as its close friend back then, the rat, did not wake him up. This the reason why cats always hate rats from then on.
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