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Origins This is the biggest festival,oE:the Chinese calendar. It began as China's Spring Festival and took place before the FIrst spring plantings. Ancient farmers gave thanks for the earth's fertility and abundance. They asked to be blessed with a bountiful harvest in the coming year. Chinese New Year continues to be a time to "start fresh," to settle old quarrels and pay back debts. Stories and Legends The Story of the Kitchen God There once was a man, who was considered very bad. He left his wife for a younger woman. His new wife spent all of his money and then kicked him out of the house. While he was out begging for food, he came to the home of his first wife. She took him in. When he realized who she was, he was so ashamed that he jumped into the oven. Because he realized the error of his ways, he was spared and given his life back. Some versions of this story say that the kitchen god is an old woman. The Chinese believe that the kitchen god will come down from Heaven and take stock of how the family is doing. Sweets are left out so all the tales are
The Story of the Nian There once was a monster, named the Nian, who came out of hiding at the end of winter. He terrorized a small village by eating everything in sight, including people. A wise man of the village said that the Nian was afraid of three things; noise, lights, and the color red. The man lit a bonfire, set off firecrackers and painted everyone's doors red. This kept the Nian away and everyone safe. Traditions .The festival lasts for 15 days. During the first three days, businesses and schools are closed. .The house is cleaned to sweep out the old year and bring in good luck. .No cooking is done the FIrst three days, so that no knives are used. A knife may "cut off" good luck. .Honey (or a sweet sugar water) is spread on the lips of household statues of the Kitchen God before the festival. This helps ensure that when he journeys to the Jade Emperor to report on the activities of the family, he will only say sweet things. .Exploring firecrackers are used-t;his day to keep away the Nian. .People hang red banners on their homes to gain protection. .People decorate banners with messages of good will and kindness. They hang these banners outside homes and businesses. Gong xi fa cai, which means "wishing you prosperity" is a common saying.
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. Another dancer holds a red ball. form a lion. Origins The Lantern Festival falls on the first full moon of the New Year and celebrates the closing of the New Year's Festivities. QING MING OR PURE BRIGHTNESS DAY Celebrated When The third day of the third month. Once outside. .Since red stands for joy. in the dance. children stay up late. Luckily. Several. Traditions . The legend tells of two states 0 . people exchange gifts wrapped in red paper and children receive money in red envelopes.0 0 0 . to bring them good luck. dressed in orange and black. Lion Dancers entertain onlookers. The lanterns welcome back the light of the sun. As time wore on.Families come together for special feasts.0 0 0 0 0 . . often over a dozen.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 . Stories and Legends . It is believed that the later they stay awake. the dragon will eat it and the earth will no longer have sunlight. is often the Dragon Dance. Two to three people.. the dragon tries to catch the sun. emperors began closing down the government for the Lantern Festival. During the Tang dynasty. Originally the Lantern Festival began as a celebration to welcome back the strengthening light and warmth of the sun.Mter the family feast. Origins Qing Ming means "pure brightness" and was originally a day to welcome springtime and the freedom of being outdoors. Chinese people began visiting and caring for the graves of their ancestors. are made and hung outside homes and businesses throughout the town or city.. During the Han dynasty..On the fourth day of the festival. . the dragon never catches the sun.0 . signifying the SuD.The high point of the festival. daughters return home to visit their parents.0 . . In the dance.0 0 0 0 0 : 0 . people operate a dragon made from paper or silk and stretched over a bamboo frame. cold winter. after a long. it became a day to show respect for one's anceltors. H it catches the sun.0 .~l!r .0 .0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .0 0 . Lion dancers are often invited to people's home to bring the household good luck for the coming year. LANTERN FESTIVAL Celebrated When The fIfteenth day of the first month. The Chinese people often rentember the legend of how the kite helped win a Han dynasty battle. in all shapes and sizes. the Lantern Festival also honored a man who ousted an unfair emperor from his throne. with foods like kumquats and meat dumplings. as they celebrate Qing Ming. the longer the lives their parents will live.Throughout both the New Year and Lantern Festivals.Paper lanterns.
.People fly kites. They threw rice into the fIver to both feed his spirit and to distract the fish from eating his body. Her ability to calm storms and save sailors from horrible fates won her respect and honor. shaped like butterflies. and heroes from Chinese operas. . They sweep them clean. A clever Han general built a kite strong enough to hold a man. Origins The Dragon Boat Festival probably began as a way to honor the planting of the rice and to ask for a bountiful harvest. pull weeds. killed himself over his sadness about how the country was being ruled.that were at war. which often honor the spirits. She continues to be highly revered by the fishers of southern China and Hong Kong. "The legend says that he tied a rock to himself and threw himself into the river. GODDESS OF THE SEA Celebrated When The 23rd day of the third month. BIRTHDAY OF TIAN HOD. Traditions . She turned herself into a spirit and went to her father's fishing boat to save him. named Qu Yuan. speaking parts. frogs. she had a dream that her father was in danger. so they would bring the right amount of rain and river floods. they left the battle and returned home. birds. making them so homesick. Qu Yuan's spirit returned to tell the villagers that the - 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000-:ooooo[:11r ~ .Some cities and villages held community festivals. Origins This celebration developed to honor Tian Hou to help bring about safe and bountiful fishing expeditions. Stories and Legends The legend of the Dragon Boat Festival began more than 2. They threw rice into the rivers to feed and please the dragons. Chinese opera djffers from Italian opera in that it uses songs.300 years ago.Families travel into the country to enjoy being outdoors. .People attend Chinese operas.People visit the graves of family members. Stories and Legends The legend states that when Tian Hou was a small girl. DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL Celebrated When The ruth day of the fifth month. and bright costumes. The soldier inside the kite sang songs of the enemy. Traditions . Ancient Chinese people believed that dragons controlled rainfall and the flooding of rivers. . mime. . as do stilt walkers and acrobats. and plant new flowers.The people of his village were deeply saddened.Lion and dragon dancers perform. other animals. The legend says that a poet. The army flew the kite over the camp of their enemy.
to carry prayers to the spirit world.0 0 . Traditions .People place offerings and burn incense by the roadsides.People also burn paper money. to disguise it from the dragon. . Offerings are made to these spirits to please and include them.0 0 0 0 . Traditions . shaped like pyramids. clothing. called joss sticks. ~ . . Spirits return to their families' homes and receive gifts. for spirits for whom don't have homes to returl!. because many people do not want to invite stranger spirits into their homes.Women participate in sewing and weaving competitions. .:~r . The spirits have one month to wander around on earth. often holding up to 10 rowers. A carved dragon's head is on the bow (front) of the boat and a dragon's tail is mounted to the stern (rear) of the boat. tools. Stories and Legends Many Chinese people believed that on the first day of the seventh lunar month.At this festival and funerals. . THE COWHERD AND THE WEAVING MAIDEN FESTIVAL Celebrated When The day of the seventh month. Gui is the mischievous spirit. cause you to trip.river dragon was eating all of the rice. The boats are long and narrow. Offerings are placed outside.0 0 0 0 0 0 . Origins This festival began as a way to honor the work and contributions of women in Chinese families.Paper models of things spirits might need (food.. HUNGRY GHOSTS FESTIVAL Celebrated When The 15th day of the seventh month. People burn these models. Origins This festival is focused on respect for one's ancestors. they wander around and may make trouble. Shen is the kind spririt who helps you.People make and eat triangular-shaped rice dumplings. etc.. for example.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .0 . so that the spirits will have some spending money in the spirit world. the gates of hell are opened.0 0 0 0 0 0 . A drummer beats a large drum to help the rowers develop a rhythm for roWIng. so that the objects can travel to the spirits via the smoke. Traditions . people burn incense. who might. Because some spirits may not have people to return to.) are made as gifts for the spirits.: 0 0 0 .. This is related to the concept of 2 souls -Po and Hun or Shen and Gui. He suggested they wrap the rice in leaves..Rowers participate in rowboat or dragon boat races.
21. Origins The Mid-Autumn Festival originally began as a festival of thanksgiving for the rice harvest. Chang Er. ~ . Mid-Autumn is often a time of family reunions. Traditions .Families may visit grave sites to get them ready for winter. They are typically round cakes. he must wait 12 months before taking it. The Chinese believe that the moon is at its fullest and brightest on this night.MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL Celebrated When The 15th day of the eighth month. typically December 20. or 22. a sweet rice treat. long ago. She gained the ability to fly and flew to the moon to hide from her husband.. that she took the pill. when the moon is full. .Tang Yuan is offered to ancesto. . enjoy tang yuan. ten suns suddenly appeared in the sky.- 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 " 0 0 00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .Moon Cakes are common treats.The day is often spent outside. which signifies the full moon. The thought of everlasting life so excited Yi's wife. Many traditions involved asking the spirits to return light and warmth to the earth. The earth became very hot and people feared that they and their crops would burn up. Moon Cakes are typically filled with lotus paste or a cooked egg yolk and have a sweet taste. the Queen of the Immortals gave Yi a pill which would give him everlasting life. WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL Celebrated When The Winter Solstice. in order for the pill to work. As a reward for his actions. especially children. Stories and Legends The Legend o/the Woman in the Moon Once. An archer. . People have more free time to get together.People. picnicking and playing and watching the moon rIse. Each month the two see each other again.Because the work of the rice harvest is completed. the festival honors the moon and its cycles. so that just one remained. .. . People enjoyed more free time after the hard work of the harvest was complete and spent the day outside with family. shot nine of the suns out of the sky. Traditions . named Yi or Hou Yi.The Winter Solstice Festival is another day of thanksgiving for bountiful harvests and good health.rs as a sign of family unity.0 0 :ffi~ '-y- . However. They often feast together on this day.0 0 . Origins This festival began as an acknowledgment of the waning light and heat of the sun as winter approaches. Inside each cake is a fIlling. Today. Her husband was so sad about the disappearance of his wife that he went to live with the sun.
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