Tomorrow is the official start of the Spring Festival, China’s longest and most important holiday. As China follows the lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is also known as Chinese New Year. The madness of the chun yun travel rush is still going on, but most people should already be home by now. Today, on New Year’s Eve (除夕 – chú xì), families all around China will gather together to ring in the New Year. Students have a nice long break, while most workers are off for a week. The festival itself lasts for 15 days, culminating with a bang (literally) and the Lantern Festival (元宵节 – yuán xiāo jié). This festival has a long history, as well as plenty of interesting customs and traditions. For a basic rundown of this traditional Chinese festival, here’s a video from “The Coolest Stuff on the Planet”:
Much has been said about the Spring Festival here at the Chinese blog over the years. In case you missed it before, here are all of the posts with short descriptions so you can get all caught up:
- Spring Festival Part One – In this post, we discuss the basics of this very important festival, as well as the fascinating backstory. Why do Chinese people wear red? Why do they light off so many fireworks? You’ll know after reading this.
- Spring Festival Part Two – A lot goes into getting ready for such a big celebration. Learn how Chinese families prepare and get ready to ring in the New Year with this post, which discusses New Year’s Eve traditions such as placing coins inside of “lucky” dumplings.
- Spring Festival Part Three – As has previously been mentioned, the Spring Festival lasts for 15 days. Find out what people do on these days in this post, which includes Buddhist traditions, lion dances, and much more.
- Spring Festival Days 2-15 – This one is sort of an elaboration on the previous year’s Part Three write-up, as it has more details about what people do throughout the many days of the festival.
- Red Envelopes – Why do children love the Spring Festival so much? Well, other than having a long holiday from school, the fact that adults give them red envelopes stuffed with money probably helps…
- Superstitions and Traditions – Why shouldn’t you get a haircut in the first month of the New Year? Why do Chinese people hang the character for good fortune (福 – fú) upside down? Well, you’ll just have to read this post to find out!
- Chinese Zodiac Calendar – Are you well versed in the Chinese zodiac calendar? Do you know the 12 animals and which years they represent? What does it all mean, anyways!? You’ll know a lot more once you finish reading this one.
Speaking of the Chinese zodiac calendar, we’re about to enter the year of the snake (蛇 – shé). If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese horoscopes and what it means to be a snake, this website is full of great information.
As an American living in China, the fact that I get to celebrate a New Year twice never gets old. On December 31st, it’s champagne and a party or concert; on the eve of the Spring Festival, it’s dumplings and fireworks. To all of our incredible readers out there, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year (新年快乐 – xīn nián kuài lè)!
Here’s a question to get you practicing your Chinese by talking about the Spring Festival:
How are you planning to spend the Spring Festival?
(你打算怎么过春节？- nǐ dǎ suàn zěn me guò chūn jié)