Chinese people have many festivals but the well known ones are The Spring Festival(Chun Jie), The Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie), The Dragon Boat Festival (Duan WuJie) and The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie). Unlike the Westerners,Chinese people celebrate their festivals according to the Lunar Calendar (The MoonCycle).
The Spring Festival
The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration inthe Chinese calendar. During the Chinese New Year celebrations people wear redclothes, decorate with poems on red paper and give children “lucky money” in redenvelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to the legend can drive away bad luck.The fireworks are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits. Dragondance was accompanied with the fire crackers. People paste red writing “Fu” on thedoors upside down as the sound of “fu dao” which means luck comes into the house.The New Year Eve Dinner (nan ye fan) were a great celebration on the midnight. Thefoods contained fish “nian nian you yu” means to be prosperous, dumplinds “jiao zi” asin “jiao hao” friendly and peaceful or as “jiao zi” as in overlap time. Sometimes peoplehave ‘nian gao’ which symbolizes ‘gao sheng’ as progress.
The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) marked the end of the Chinese New Year which ison the fifteenth day of the month (Lunar calendar). Lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend of history.People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.At this time people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao or tangyuan (glutinous rice ball/small dumpling ball) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere. The legend of the origin of the Lantern Festival is to worship Taiyi,the God of Heaven in ancient times that controlled the destiny of the human world. Theemperor would ask Taiyi to bring favorable weather and good health to him and his people. Another legend is to celebrate the birthday of a Taoist God Tianguan who isresponsible for good fortune. The third story is to do with Buddhism where followers believe that the power of Buddha can dispel darkness and lanterns are displayed intemples, which is a house of Buddha and sacred scriptures were kept.The fillings inside the glutinous rice balls are either sweet or salty. Sweet fillings aremade of sugar, walnuts, sesame, osmathus flowers, rose petals, sweetened tangerine peel, bean paste or jujube paste. The salty variety is filled with minced meat, vegetables or amixture. The way to make yuanxiao are also varies between the northern and thesouthern China. However, they all try their best to improve the taste and quality of thedumplings to attract more customers.