chun jie

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Chinese Festivals

“Chinese New Year, Chunjie, 春节, Spring Festival”

Now, I will tell you something about the Spring Festival I know and grew up with, and how to celebrate Spring Festival in my family. The blog is a long one, please be patient~~^_^

•The origin of Spring Festival
It’s said that “Nian 年” was a horrific monster in ancient China. It always destroyed everything and even hurt people. People found out, that the monster was afraid of the red cloth people put on their doors, so it has become a tradition to have something red (Spring Festival couplets and Fu character 福) on the doors and walls. Nian is also afraid of fireworks and firecrackers, that’s why Chinese people love to make a lot of noise during the Spring Festival time.

 

 

•The importance of Spring Festival in China
Spring Festival is the most important festival during the whole year, almost everyone goes back home to celebrate Spring Festival with their family, even people who work in Hainan Province and their hometown is in Heilongjiang Province go back home (Hainan is in the southwest of China, Heilongjiang Province is in the northeast of China).

The traffic during the whole month is horrible, it’s difficult to get a ticket to go back home (because everyone wants to go back home), if you get a ticket, you are lucky, but if you take a train to somewhere, you will find sometimes you can’t get a place and you will have to stand on the train. We call it “Chun1yun4 春运”, it is a word we use to describe the passenger transport during the period of Spring Festival.

InternChina – Igeel

•Prepare for Spring Festival
-“La Yue” ”腊(la4)月(yue4)”
“La Yue” is the last month on Chinese lunar calendar in one year. When “La Yue” starts, Chinese people start to prepare everything for the Spring Festival.
The Spring Festival is only one day on a calendar, but for Chinese people, it isn’t only one day, it always refers to the whole Spring Festival period.

– Cleaning: Chinese people clean the house everywhere; wash all the window curtains, bed sheets and dirty clothes before Spring Festival.

– Buy enough food for the whole month: Including all kinds of meat, vegetables, fruits, snacks, nuts, sweets and “mantou 馒头” (Chinese bread). If you are in China now, you will find that the traffic jam is worse on the weekends than weekdays, there are so many people in supermarkets and shopping malls, you may believe everything is for free! (Because everyone buys a lot of stuff!)

– Wear new clothes: On Spring Festival, people wear new clothes, even underwear and socks are all new. As mentioned in the blog written by my charming colleague Sunny “people will wear red coloured underwear and socks as if the coming year would be their year. By the way, the next year is the year of the snake!”

When I was a child, I was always very happy to wear new clothes on Spring Festival, I would keep the new clothes my mother bought for me in winter to wear until the Spring Festival. But now, I don’t mind if I wear new clothes on Spring Festival, because I have grown up and I can buy new clothes anytime I want.

•Spring Festival Eve
– Sacrifice
There is a tradition that the family makes sacrifices to forefathers of the family during the period of the Spring Festival. It’s very solemn. Prepare a table with incense, candles, some dishes, fruits and cakes.
In my family, if we decide to make sacrifices, we will prepare it very carefully, because it displays the respect we have for our family ancestors.

-“Dinner on Spring Festival Eve”,”年(nian2)夜(ye4)饭(fan4)”
On the Spring Festival Eve, all family members get together cooking, making dumplings, watching TV (more than 99.99% families in China watch the Spring Festival Gala on CCTV). The dinner on Spring Festival Eve is the most important meal in one year for every family. Some families also put several coins (washed with boiling water) into dumplings, if you eat a dumpling with a coin, it means you will be lucky and will make more money in the new year!
My mom always prepares at least 10 dishes for the dinner every year, even though there are only us three(my parents and me) celebrating together on the eve. After dinner, we will eat dumplings at midnight. When the dumplings are cooked, we will set off firecrackers at the same moment.

InternChina – Grand Mother Dinner

•“Red envelope”,”红(hong2)包(bao1)”
Children are all very happy during the period of Spring Festival, because they can get red envelopes from older family members on Spring Festival, they all become “rich men”!
I got red envelopes from my parents, grandparents and some other elder family members every year until I graduated from college. I will give red envelopes to my nephews from this Spring Festival on…

 

•“Happy Spring Festival”,”拜(bai4)年(nian2)”
Say “Guo4 nian2 hao3”(it means happy Chinese new year) with fist and palm salute to people you know or you don’t know but you want to ask for help if you stay in China during the period of the Spring Festival, they will be very happy. People will visit each other to say “guo4 nian2 hao3” to wish each other good luck and make more money in the new year!

 

•“Going back to mother’s home”,”回(hui2)娘(niang2)家(jia1)”
It’s a tradition in China that the daughters who have married could not celebrate the Spring Festival with their own parents, they celebrate the Spring Festival with their husband’s family. So the second day (in some areas in China, it is the first day) after Spring Festival is the date for the daughters who have married to back home to celebrate with their own parents, also with husbands and kids, they always take a lot of gifts. And the parents of the daughters will entertain them as well. But now, because most of Chinese families have only one child, people don’t mind to celebrate with other families and friends.
Although my mom goes to visit my grandmother every two days, she prepares a lot of gifts for my grandmother on this day as well. My grandmother also gets up early in the morning to prepare the dinner for us.

 

•How Chinese people spend Spring Festival holiday
We get a 7-days holiday during the Spring Festival. Do you want to know how Chinese people spend their holidays? Most of families celebrate together at home and meet friends, some people go out to travel with families, normally, people in north China prefer to travel to some warm places, because the winter is cold, they want to enjoy the holiday with only wearing a T-shirt.

I meet some friends and go shopping during the holiday, because there’s a big discount after Spring Festival! I am always busy during the holiday, there are too many friends and relatives to meet, too many things I want to do.

by Amber

Celebrate Spring Festival in China! Send us your application for a homestay and be with a Chinese family on Spring Festival Eve.

Chinese Festivals

Spring Festival is coming!

The beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year is known as Spring Festival春节 [chūn jié] . It is one of the most ceremonious traditional festivals of the Chinese people, and also a symbol of unity, prosperity and new hope for the future. The Chinese New Year has 4000 years of history!

InternChina – Spring Festival

Chun Jie is coming and all people are starting their preparations for this most important festival. I have been growing up in the North of China but not I’ve already been living in Canton for over 12 years. Although the Spring Festival has the same meaning for all Chinese, the customs are really different. Today, I am going to talk about the Cantonese’s customs for Chinese New Year. For Cantonese, the most important thing to do for Spring Festival is strolling on the flower markets. The flower markets always open a week before Chinese New Year. In that time, usually long streets are full of flowers, and sometimes you can even find stadiums filled with flowers. People believe strolling around flower markets will bring them luck for the new year and so they will also buy some flowers to decorate their houses. The most popular flowers are orchids, orange trees, solanum mammosum, peach blossom trees and narcissus. So Cantonese are the most romantic Chinese! 😉

InternChina – Spring Festival in China


 Orchids

InternChina – Decoration

 

InternChina – Preparation

Another important thing for Cantonese is shopping! We will buy lots of nuts, candies, fruits and lots of traditional snacks, such as sweet white gourd, sweet lotus root and so on…

InternChina – Apples

 

 

InternChina – Full Supermarket

Yes, all sweets and chocolate!
You find something interesting? Yes, red colour. During Chinese new year time, if you go to the market or supermarket, you will find most of things packed in red – it’s China’s lucky colour.

Next important thing is Spring festival decoration! Yes, also all red and gold colours!

InternChina – Coloured Underwear

 

 

Finally, I want to say Happy Spring Festival to all of you!

You want to accompany Sunny on her next Spring Festival shopping trip? Send us you application now!

 

 

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