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Chinese Spring Festival and the Origin Story

Sprig Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most featured traditional festival in China, passed down for 4000 years. With regards to the legends of Spring Festival, there is lots of it. In the old tradition, Spring Festival was last from a week before Chinese New Year’s Eve to Lunar Jan 19, was highlight in the New Year’s Eve and first day in lunar Jan. During this period, Han nationality and many other nationalities celebrate in various activities, which focusing on worshipping gods and ancestors, discarding old and bringing in new, praying for a fortunate new year.  

In Chinese Spring Festival, every household paste spring couplets and picture on the doors and windows, burning firecrackers and incense, prepare a family reunion dinner, worship gods, etc. Among the traditional customs, one is most popular among children. That’s giving luck money by elders to children. This customs dated back to the ancient times of long time ago. There was a beast named Nian (Year in English) showed up in every New Year’s Eve to eat people or animals. People suffered a lot and tried to figure ways to deal with the beast. After observation, they found that Nian was frightened by red, big sound, and light. So, people came up with methods to scare the beast away by burning firecrackers, wearing red clothes, paste red couplets and pictures, and staying up all nights from New Year’s Eve to the first day of New Year. Children were suffering from another beast of Sui, who showed up at the same time with Nian. What different was Sui hurt children on purpose. Children who were touched by Sui got terrible fever, talked nonsense, and became silly. The elders put some bronze coins into red packets and placed them under the children’s pillow. When Sui came to touch children, it was expelled by a strong light by the red packet. This behavior became a customs that delivers good wishes by elders to children. At present, lucky money, put in to red packet in steads of coins, is regarded as best wishes from elders.

The Date of Spring Festival every year in solar calendar is different because is calculated in Chinese lunar calendar. In 2014, this year is Horse Year and Chinese Spring Festival is on Jan 31st. That means the Chinese New Year’s Eve is Jan 30th. The national holiday is from Jan 31st to Feb 6th, lasts for 7 days. In Chinese New Year’s Eve, people should all be at home and have dinner together. Or the New Year is considered incomplete. On the first day of lunar New Year, people visit each other and give greetings. What is worth mentioning is lunar Jan 15th is Lanterns’ Day, Chinese Valentine’s Day. In this festival, young people are on dating outside to enjoy lantern shows and guess lantern riddles.

Spring Festival is one of the most important carriers of Chinese Traditional Customs and Cultures, containing the wisdom and emotional sustenance of Chinese people, staying Chinese social concept and pursuit. We must develop and expand the excellent cultures clotted in Spring Festival with all efforts and pass it down to our generation everlastingly.

DCT wish all of you happy Spring Festival and a prosperous New Year! In Spring Festival, DCT promotes some featured Spring Festival tour packages in this period. You are welcome to spend about a week to celebrate a Chinese New Year in China with Discover China Tours.