Traditional Holidays on Ancient Chinese Calendar II
Ancient Civilizations 8/30/11
By: Yona Williams
Dragons play an important role in the Chinese culture, so it's not a surprise that the creature is worshipped during some festivals. From paying homage to the Dragon King or hosting a parade are just some of the traditions. In this article, you will encounter rituals associated with the Zhonghe Festival (called the Blue Dragon Festival), as well as others.
Also known as the Blue Dragon Festival or Dragon Raising Its Head, the second day of the second lunar month is when the Zhonghe Festival is celebrated. This is a time to clean the home and dine on Chinese pancakes with noodles. The festival reflects on ancient traditions and culture. The dragon plays a significant role in the Chinese culture.
People believed that the dragon was the king of all insects and was responsible for bringing rains. The festival commemorates the awakening of hibernating insects, which start to rise at the start of early spring. The weather gets warmer and the first rains arrive. The festival acts as a worship ritual to bring a good harvest in the coming months.
People take the time to pay their respects to the Dragon King. Visits to temples take place. Some follow the ancient practice of getting rid of insect pests in their homes, such as burning herbs known to repel bugs. Other traditions include carrying perfumed bags of ground fragrant powder and paying homage to ancestral deities.
Traditionally known as Chinese Women's Day or the Spring Purification Festival, the Shangsi Festival is observed on the third day of the third month. This ancient tradition was observed by going out by the water to enjoy a picnic meal, pick orchids, and wash away any bad luck they may have. The day was also used as a time to follow cleansing rituals that prevented disease. Others would also celebrate the birthday of the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi.
Qing Ming Jie
Celebrated 104 days following the winter solstice, Qing Ming Jie usually takes place around April 5 on the ancient Chinese calendar. During this observance, people will pay a visit to the gravesites of their ancestors to clean and make offerings. This festival was also called Tomb Sweeping Day, Ancestors Day, or Mourning Day.
Celebrations at the tomb start with prayers. After sweeping the tombs and gravesites, offerings may include food, tea, wine, chopsticks, or paper accessories. On this day, families enjoy an outing with one another. This is also the time of the year when farming families begin the spring plowing. People sing and dance to celebrate. Young couples tend to court one another during this time of the year.
Also known as the Ghost Festival, the Spirit Festival is observed on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. In an effort to appease and keep the dead from haunting and causing trouble for the living, people will burn fake paper money and make offerings to ancestors and the dead.