Festivals & Customs
China is a country with a long history of
about 5,000 years. In its ever-forward history course
there have developed a good number of traditional festivals,
which are of rich varieties and long standing. The culture
of festivals rooted deeply in the people, and it thus
shows its enormous vitality. In spite of the change
of times, it has gradually become part of the heritages
of the colorful Chinese culture.
Boasting rich cultural meaning and a long
history, traditional Chinese festivals compose an important
and brilliant part of Chinese culture.
Most traditional festivals took shape during
the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), the first unified and
power-centralized dynasty of China. By the Han Dynasty
(206 BC-AD 220), China had experienced a great development
period and major traditional festivals were fixed. In
the most prosperous Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), traditional
festivals liberated themselves from primitive sacrifice,
taboo and mystery and became more entertaining. From
then on, festive occasions turned more brisk and exciting
and more and more folk customs were developed. Some
festivals and customs we still follow today, but others
disappeared into the mists of time. The formation of
traditional festivals is a long process of historical
and cultural accumulation in a nation or a state. Festival
customs passed down to today still show signs of ethnic
estival activities always reflect primitive
sacrifice, superstitious taboo and earthly life, people's
spirit and religious influence. Sometimes historical
figures become the focus of a festival, showing people's
commemoration for them and endowing some historical
sense to it.
Moreover, traditional Chinese festivals
were often connected with ancient astronomy, calendars
and mathematics. Jieqi, or the 24 seasonal division
points, is a key factor in forming traditional festivals.
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, a year
is divided into 24 points, which can accurately show
seasonal changes and acts as a basic guidance system
for agricultural production. The 24 seasonal division
points came into being in the Warring States Period
(475 BC-221 BC).
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. In fact, these traditional
festivals have absorbed nourishment from different regions
and various ethnic cultures and are a precious cultural
heritage for the whole Chinese nation and its guests.
The traditional Chinese festivals not only
are an important part of the cultural life of the Chinese
people, but they also play a special role in the commercial
trade and cultural communication. In these festivals,
farmers exchange different products; goods; scholars
share their works with each other; and the government
also hold some grand activities to establish or reaffirm
the moral principles as a kind of conduction.