Similar to Christmas in the West, Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is the most important festival of the year for Chinese people. It marks the first day of the lunar calendar and usually falls somewhere between late January and early February of the Gregorian calendar.
In China, the Spring Festival is when all family members get together. No matter how far people are from their homes they will try their best to heads back to their hometown to celebrate the festival with their family.
There are many customs that accompany and adds great joy to the traditional festival. We selects the top 10 customs that are widely followed across China during the celebration of the Spring Festival which also attracts many tourists to experience the Spring Festival atmosphere for China vacation deals.
1. Spring Couplets
On the Chinese New Year, families in China decorate their front doors with poetic couplets of calligraphy written with fragrant India ink, expressing the feeling of life's renewal and the return of spring.
It is said that spring couplets originated from "peach wood charms," door gods painted on wood charms in earlier times. During the Five Dynasties (907-960), the Emperor Meng Chang inscribed an inspired couplet on a peach slat, beginning a custom that gradually evolved into today's popular custom of displaying spring couplets.
In addition to pasting couplets on both sides and above the main door, it is also common to hang calligraphic writing of the Chinese characters for "spring," "wealth," and "blessing." Some people will even invert the drawings of blessing since the Chinese for "inverted" is a homonym in Chinese for "arrive," thus signifying that spring, wealth, or blessing has arrived. The spring couplets are popular around the most places of China such as Xian, a destination for Silk Road tours.
2. Nian Hua
Nian Hua (Spring Festival Picture) is a special type of painting in China. It is used during the Spring Festival.
It originated in the Pre-Qin Period (before 221 B.C.), a brief record of which can be found in Zhanguo Ce (Strategies of the Warring States Period).
As late as in the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties (206B. C. -220 A. D.), people liked to paste the images of various gods on both sides of the door, expecting them to ward off evil and usher in good luck. These images are called "the door-gods". Since people pasted them up during the Spring Festival, these pictures gained a special significance for the occasion.
The art of printing from engraved plates, which was invented in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A. D.), brought about further development of Nian Hua. Before the Tang Dynasty, Nian Hua in most cases were images of deities and spirits. Now it spread almost every corner of China included in major big cities such as Beijing and Chongqing where you can start your Yangtze River cruises.
After the Tang Dynasty, some works evolved into more realistic pictures, and the images of the door-gods turned into two generals: Qin Qiong and Yuchi Jingde. There were more Nian Hua produced in this fashion in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), and xylographic Nian Hua, of religious themes developed gradually in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A. D.).
In the Ming and Qing dynasties, xylographic Nian Hua reached a new height of development and Nian Hua came into the homes of the ordinary people. In the Qing Dynasty, most of the provinces had their own workshops for making Nian Hua.
The main producers included Taohuawu of Suzhou (a tourist destination for top 10 China tours), Yangliuqing of Tianjin, Weifang of Shandong, Foshan of Guangdong, Mianzhu of Sichuan, Wuqiang of Hebei, Zhu-xianzhen of Henan, Shaoxing of Zhejiang, and so on.
3. Reunion dinner
A reunion dinner is held on Chinese New Year's Eve, during which family members get together to celebrate. No matter where people live, they are expected to return home for the festival, and this dinner.
It is a huge feast, where many fantastic dishes are prepared including chicken, pork, dumplings and many special desserts.
Fish is also included, but intentionally not finished, and the remaining fish is stored overnight. Because the Chinese word for fish sounds the same as the word for abundance and by saving it for the New Year, it is believed that the New Year will be filled with abundance. A famous Chinese phrase "every year there is fish/leftover" is a homophone for phrases which mean "be blessed every year" or "have profit every year".
If you want to know more information about Spring Festival, you can contact with China tour agents.
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