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Culture behind the Spring Festival customs

(People's Daily Online)

13:16, February 05, 2013

(File Photo)

Key Words:Spring Festival; culture; folk custom

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The Spring Festival is most magnificent and most important festival with the greatest cultural connotation in China. There are many traditional customs during Spring Festival such as setting off firecrackers, lighting bonfires, hanging lanterns, and eating dumplings, all of which reveal the way of thinking and history of the ancient Chinese people as well as the traditional Chinese culture and philosophy.

Compliance with nature's laws

Spring Festival usually comes shortly before or after one of the twenty four solar terms called the "Beginning of Spring". It marks the beginning of the four seasons in a year as well as a time of renewal and nature's resurrection.

According to traditional Chinese calendar, the Spring Festival is truly the beginning of the New Year and new season not only in terms of timing but also in terms of climate. Yin-Yang opposition is an important aspect ancient Chinese people's thinking.

During the Spring Festival, many fire-related matters have something to do with this concept of adjustment between Yin and Yang. For example, every household will light torches and bonfires in their courtyards in Lunar New Year's Eve to pray for prosperity; and they will all ignite the "ever-burning light" not to be blown out throughout the night, as a way to pray for longevity and well-being. Burning firecrackers is a tradition followed to "ring out the old year and ring in the new". Initially it was also a sun-worship act but later it gained the connotation of driving out evil and fouling spirits as well as welcoming good gods.

Finding balance

Most traditional Chinese festivals are celebrated with special dishes which reveal the way of thinking of ancient Chinese trying to find balance. In the eyes of ancient Chinese people, each food is produced with two kinds of substances respectively attributed with Yin and Yang properties.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Ye Xin)

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