Traditional festivals, which are part of the culture created by and shared among the whole nation, crystallize the cultural quintessence of a particular nation. These festivals are a strong spiritual force for national cohesion. Here is a brief introduction to seven major traditional festivals in China.
The Spring Festival, commonly known as "guo nian" in Chinese (Chinese New Year), falls on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. It is the most valued and widely observed festival in China. It enjoys a long history that can be traced back to the Yin and Shang dynasties when sacrifices were performed at the beginning of a new year.
The Lantern Festival, the first day of the full moon in the New Year, falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. Traditionally, people would light thousands of colored lanterns to celebrate the festival.
Tomb Sweeping Day Festival is the day for visiting the graves or burial grounds of their ancestors and for offering sacrifices.
The Dragon Boat Festival is underpinned by the vast expanse of Chinese territory and ethnic diversity, together with a myriad of folklores, all contributing to the varied customs of observing the Dragon Boat Festival. Traditionally, the married daughters would go back to their parents' home for reunion during the festival, and people would join in parades of ships made from paper, and carry amulets made from leaves.
The Double Seventh Festival (Chinese Valentine's Day), also known as the Daughter's Festival, is the most romantic of all Chinese festivals. It is an annual celebration of the meeting of the cowherd boy and the weaver girl in Chinese mythology. It is said that people can witness their rendezvous in the Milky Way at night and even overhear their prattle beneath the shelves of fruit.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the fifteenth day of the fifteenth lunar month in the Chinese calendar. It is a time for family reunion, or if the family cannot be together they can look at the full moon in the sky, and feel connected to their family.
The Double Ninth Festival: according to the Book of Changes, the number nine is considered as yang. The ninth day of the ninth lunar month in Chinese calendar features two nines, so the day is given the Chinese name "chong yang" (chong means double in Chinese). In 1989, China set it as a day for showing respect to the elderly, requiring that people should respect, care, love and help the elderly.