The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. With the popular adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating January 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, although in a shorter version with a new name–the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now observe the holiday in a very different manner from their ancestors. For some young people, the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work. It is highly recommendable to make your China Travel during this amazing festival, if you are going to Travel to Beijing, make sure to know and learn about this festival because it is surrounded and performed through Chinese ancient culture.

The Traditional Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year period began in the middle of the 12th month and ended around the middle of the first month with the waxing of the full moon. Observance of the New Year period was traditionally divided into New Year’s Eve and the first days of the new year.

Traditionally for the Chinese, New Year was the most important festival on the calendar. During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the principal focuses. Elders gave out money to children. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the
household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.

On New Year’s Eve, the extended family would join around the table for a meal that included as the last course a fish that was symbolic of abundance and therefore not meant to be eaten. In the first five days of the New Year, people ate long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon were shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.

Evolution of Spring Festival

In the early 21st century, many Chinese families spent a significant amount of their discretionary income celebrating the Spring Festival with traditional symbols
and food. They also spent time watching the televised Spring Festival Gala: an annual variety show featuring traditional and contemporary singers, dancers and
magic demonstrations. Although the rites of the holiday no longer had religious value, people remained sensitive to the zodiacal animals to the extent that they considered what, for example, a year of the rat might mean for their personal fortunes or for a child born at that time.

A change in attitude toward the Spring Festival has occurred in China’s young people, with Chinese college students reporting that they prefer surfing the Internet,
sleeping, watching TV or spending time with friends to celebrating with family. They also reported not liking traditional New Year food such as dumplings and
glutinous rice pastry. With its change of name from Chinese New Year to Spring Festival, for some members of the younger generation the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work. Book your China Hotel as soon as possible a do not miss this incredible experience!

 

Jack Li

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