Boasting rich cultural meaning and a long history, traditional Chinese festivals compose an important and brilliant part of Chinese culture. The formation of traditional festivals is a long process of historical and cultural accumulation in a nation or a state. As China is a vast land and has many ethnic groups, different ethnic groups have different festivals in different places. Even on the same festival, they follow different customs. Here we introduce some important and commonly celebrated festivals. In fact, these traditional festivals have absorbed differnt aspects from different regions and various ethnic cultures and are a precious cultural heritage for the Chinese nation as a whole and its guests.
The Spring Festival
The Spring Festival is the most important festival for Chinese people. All family members get together during this season, just like Christmas in the West. All people living away from home will go back so it becomes the busiest time for transportation systems about half a month before the Spring Festival. Airports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations are crowded with people returning home.
The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, usually in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. People will eat yuanxiao, or rice dumplings on this day, so it is also called the "Yuanxiao Festival". Yuanxiao also has another name, tangyuan. They are small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling. Tangyuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. It tastes sweet and delicious. What's more, tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with "tuanyuan", meaning reunion. So people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family.
The Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, has had a history of more than 2,000 years. It is usually in June in the Gregorian calendar. Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival, held all over the country. As the gun is fired, people will see racers in dragon-shaped canoes pulling the oars harmoniously and hurriedly, accompanied by rapid drums, speeding toward their destination. Zongzi is an essential food of the Dragon Boat Festival in early times, it was only glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in reed or other plant leaves and tied with colored thread, but now the fillings are more diversified, including jujube and bean paste, fresh meat, and ham and egg yolk.
The Mid-Autumn Day
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, usually in October in Gregorian calendar. People in different places follow various customs, but all show their love and longing for a better life. Today people will enjoy the full moon and eat moon cakes on that day. The moon looks extremely round, big and bright on the 15th day of each lunar month. People selected the August 15 to celebrate because it is a season when crops and fruits are all ripe and weather is pleasant. On the Mid-Autumn Festival, all family members or friends meet outside, putting food on tables and looking up at the sky while talking about life.
The National Day
National Day, on October 1, is the most important national festival. During the celebrations, Beijing is elaborately decorated. Streets are lined with flowers and colorful flags and buntings, and red lanterns are hung on the gates of shops and official buildings. The official reception and celebration are held in the Great Hall of the People while various kinds of performances and operas are shown at all theaters. A grand parade and elaborate fireworks display is held in Tian'an men Square every fifth or tenth year, with a massive parade and show.
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