Spring Festival

The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese culture. Taking place on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar, it falls each year on a different date on the standard calendar.

An ancient tradition

Originating more than a thousand years before the era, this festival was a way to pray to Heaven, Earth and the ancestors at the beginning of the year. The peasants were based on the second moon after the winter solstice to pray in hope of harvest to come and make offerings. This agricultural festival was extended to the transition to the new lunar year with a new sign (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig).
Today is the most important festival in China, similar to Christmas in the West. The Spring Festival is an opportunity to gather with a family. Although this tradition is lost a little, the Chinese like to enjoy their holiday travel, a majority of the population returns to their hometown throughout the festival to be with their loved ones.

Substantial preparations

In the West, we begin to prepare for Christmas ahead of time, in China, is the same for the New Year. The eighth day of the previous month, families began to buy and prepare the main foods like glutinous rice in southern China and dried fruits. From the 23rd of the month, major preparations began. Families began first by a big meal before spring cleaning throughout the house. Once clean, decorations are installed everywhere horizontal banners posted on both sides of doors with calligraphy to express wishes; portraits of deities for protection or fortune and happiness characters hanging upside down on the door, red lanterns hanging on the porch and paper cut exposed to windows. 

The New Year's Eve and 3 days of celebration

The festivities begin the evening of the first day of the lunar year. This night is an opportunity for the family to come together for a hearty meal. Chicken, fish and bean curd dishes are indispensable parties as with a meaning for auspiciousness and excess grains and money.
In the north, everyone puts their hands in flour to prepare ravioli to be eaten in the morning, to the south, the glutinous rice cakes that were preferred. This loses a little, but in many families, we continue talking in the evening and watching national tv shows. We sleep until late at night to enjoy the transition to the new year between midnight and 1am (in the old days, a day is divided into twelve slots of two hours).
The first day of the year, everyone wakes up at dawn to eat dumplings or glutinous rice cakes. Then, they take the best clothes and start three days of eating with family and friends. Instead of New Year's Eve it is done in small groups, the next three days are filled with meetings. They visit family, friends, colleagues or former colleagues to wish them happiness and success for the new year. Gifts are also exchanged, including with children.
They also take the opportunity to attend the village fair, taste the specialties of the country and attend shows organized by acrobatic troupes, theater, music or dance lion and dragon.

The festivities

After three days of intense festivals, the atmosphere is relaxed, life slowly returns to its course but was not until the fifteenth day of the first month for the festivities officially ended, and is also famous when the Lantern Festival starts!

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