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Traditional Holidays on Ancient Chinese Calendar

By Yona Williams    8/30/11

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In many cultures, people have saved some of their ancient traditions that they incorporate into their modern observances. For the Chinese, they follow traditional holidays by following the days of their ancient calendar. In this article, you will learn about important days associated with the Chinese culture, such as the Spring Festival and Lantern Festival.

Chinese New Year

On the last day of the lunar year, the Chinese New Year (also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year) is observed. It is one of the most important holidays of the Chinese culture. Marking the end of the winter season, the fe\jstival begins on the first day of the first month – ending with the Lantern Festival (the 15th day). On Chinese New Year's Eve ("Eve of the Passing Year"), families often gather for an annual reunion dinner.

Some of the traditions associated with the Chinese New Year include spending money on gifts, decoration, food and clothing. Houses are thoroughly cleaned in an effort to eliminate any bad fortune and welcome any good luck for the new year. Red paper cuts decorate windows and doors – depicting themes of wealth, happiness and longevity. Typical foods for the celebration include pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet treats usually reserved for special occasion. The night is ended with firecrackers.

The next morning, children wake up early to greet their parents and wish them a healthy and happy new year. They receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year is a time to wish peace and happiness to others, as well as forget all grudges.

Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

Lantern Festival

On the 15th day of the first lunar month, the Chinese celebrate the Lantern Festival with a lantern parade and lion dance that celebrates the first full moon. A traditional food eaten during the observance is tangyuan – glutinous flour balls that are cooked and served in boiling water. This day also marks the last day of new year celebration.

During the Lantern Festival, children go out in the night to temples with paper lanterns in their hands. They spend time solving riddles that are written on the lanterns. During ancient times, the lanterns were simple and only the emperor and nobles enjoyed more elaborate creations. Today, anyone can create or carry a lantern with ornate designs. For instance, an eye-catching lantern may be in the shape of an animal.

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