Chinese New Year is a holiday with a history of 3600 years. The Chinese call it "ChunChie", which translates as "Spring Festival". The Spring Festival in China is not one day of celebration, but a 15-day celebratory marathon with a huge number of traditions. New Year in China is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, and every year its date changes. From the schedule and start.
Since the Chinese New Year is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, it does not have an exact date in our Gregorian calendar. Each year its date changes.
As well as at us, at Chineses it is the longest holidays in a year. The Festival of Spring lasts 15 days - from the 1st to the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. On the 15th day, the Lantern Festival takes place, which is considered an integral part of the New Year.
Working Chinese citizens are supposed to have at least 7 days off, some enterprises give longer holidays to their employees - up to 12 days. Schoolchildren and students were lucky most - they have a whole month of vacation.
Preparing for the New Year begins another week - from the 23rd day of the last lunar month. The Spring Festival is a family holiday, and all the Chinese try to get home on the eve of the holiday.
Important tips for tourists
We generally do not recommend staying in China during the Spring Festival. Remember that this is a family holiday, and mass events are not very common. Of course, on the streets arrange the dancing of the Dragons and the dances of Lviv, fireworks explode and everywhere beautiful illumination. But this does not compensate for the huge inconvenience for tourists.
Most shops, cafes and restaurants are simply closed, some attractions are unavailable. And most importantly - in China at this time it is almost impossible to move around. All the Chinese try to get to their families, the transport is overcrowded.
This phenomenon even has received the official name - "Transport agiotage of the Spring Festival" or in Chinese "ChunYung". On the eve and during the Spring Festival, only 320,000,000 people pass by high-speed trains . This is an astronomical figure.
Tickets can only be purchased in advance. Kilometer queues at ticket offices for tickets are lined up two weeks before the holiday. In China during this period, temporary trains are allowed, their numbers start with the letter "L", but this does not save the situation. The stations and stations are so crowded that it is difficult to find your departure platform. On the left is a photo from the station in China one day before the New Year.
But before traveling to China, you need to fly here first, which is also problematic. Fly to China on the eve of the Spring Festival can be very expensive. Until 2014, the air ticket price on the eve of the Chinese New Year could exceed the usual one by 1.5 times. Now demand has fallen noticeably (note: the article was written in 2016), and this trend is not as strong as before.
When the Spring Festival and its legend appeared
This holiday arose even during the Shang dynasty (17-11 centuries of the day), and maybe even earlier. Then the Spring Festival did not yet have official status, and there was no exact date for it. Peasants celebrated the beginning of spring field work.
The lunar calendar was officially introduced in China much later - during the Han Dynasty by the Emperor Wu-di (156 - 87 years of the day). It was at that moment that a fixed date for the Spring Festival appeared - the 1st day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar.
With the advent of the Spring Festival there is an interesting legend:
"In ancient times, people were terrorized by a terrible monster called Nian. He lived in the depths of the ocean, and only at the end of the lunar year went out on land and hunted people and cattle. Especially he loved to kidnap and eat children.
People went to the mountains or hid. And somehow in one year the old man came to the village in rags. The villagers were just about to flee to the mountains, and no one paid attention to the old man. Only one old woman brought him food and told him about the terrible monster. The old man refused to go away with everyone and stayed in the old woman's house, promising to drive the monster away.
At midnight, Nian came to the village. He saw that all the houses were abandoned except for one - a house in the east of the village, in which lights burned and something rustled. Nian tried to enter the house, but in vain, as the windows were sealed with red paper. It turned out that the monster was afraid of red color.
He found the door and decided to break through it, but the door flew open, and from there came an old man dressed in red robes. He held a burning bamboo in his hands, which bursts loudly in the fire. The monster Nian was frightened and ran away.
In the morning the villagers returned. They saw an old man who was still alive, and the old woman told them about his promise to drive the monster away. The villagers realized that the monster is scaring away the red color, the loud sound and the crackling of burning bamboo. "
Since then, the tradition has gone - to celebrate the victory over the demon Nian. Red - the official color of the Spring Festival in China, and the place of burning bamboo took fireworks. Not every day the Chinese fireworks, the Spring Festival has its own clear timetable.
The 23rd day of the last month - 7 days before the New Year
On this day, pray Zao Jun - God Kitchen. In fact, it is difficult for us to call him a god, he is close to our "house" one.
It is believed that it is on this day that Kitchen God rises to the emperor of Heaven and reports about all the bad deeds of the household.
People should bring Zao Zhun to the victim and pray to him so that he tells the Jade Emperor less bad and more good. As an offering, something sweet is used. If the house has his statuette, then it is customary to spread her lips with honey, so that the report of Zao Rong to the Emperor of Heaven would be sweeter.
The 24th day of the last month - 6 days before the New Year
On this day it is necessary to do a complete house cleaning. On the floor should not remain a speck of dust, all clothes should be washed, the windows washed.
From the 25th to the last day of the last month
This time is used to buy everything that is necessary for a holiday.
First, you need to buy all the ingredients for New Year's dishes. Secondly, in China it is customary to meet the New Year in new clothes, which also need to be bought.
Attentive readers, probably already noticed in the photo on the right mandarin. As well as at us, in China tangerines are welcomed on a New Year's table.
Now it is becoming more and more common for people not to spend the main dinner in the New Year at home, but to order a table in a restaurant. The Chinese are getting richer from year to year, and this pleasure is becoming more accessible. The table in the restaurant also needs to be reserved.
The last day of the last month
On this day it is customary to drink New Year's couplets, this tradition is something like our Christmas carols. Couple simply sing, without asking anything. The texts of these verses most often wish a good harvest, luck and prosperity to all listeners.
The most important tradition is a family dinner. All family members gather together and eat traditional dishes.
The main dish is pelmeni. Depending on the province, they can contain a meat or vegetable filling. Dumplings can be fried, boiled or cooked in a bamboo steamer . Dumplings are taken at midnight. In the southern regions of China, instead of pelmeni, Nianggao pie is eaten.
On New Year's Eve, the Chinese watch television with their whole family. The most popular channel is CCTV. New Year's show includes music, dances, Beijing opera , performances of acrobats and much more.
And of course, on New Year's Eve fireworks are launched. Recall that the demon Nian is afraid of red color, bright light and claps. All this is present in China on New Year's Eve in abundance.
First day of the first month
The holiday continues - eating dumplings, shooting fireworks, firecrackers and burning bamboo. But on this day they pay respect to their elders. If any member of the family is older than at least a day, then it is necessary to kneel before him. This tradition in modern Chinese cities dies off, but in rural areas is still alive.
On this day, pray Chayeshen - God of Wealth. The second important tradition is that married daughters can visit their parents. In the old days, the daughter could not visit her relatives at any time, such were the rules. She celebrated the New Year with her husband's family, and on the second day she could visit her relatives.
Naturally, now this tradition no longer exists in this very form. Modern Chinese just go to the wife's relatives that day.
The third day
This is the day of Chigou - God of Furious Wrath. On this day, everyone should stay at home and not communicate. Now nobody observes this tradition.
It is considered the birthday of the God of Wealth. It is believed that with fireworks people attract his attention and deserve the favor of this god in the new year. In honor of God, Wealth used to have dinner on that day, but this tradition has now almost disappeared.
Take out all the accumulated garbage from the house. During the previous five days, cleaning up and taking out the garbage is a bad omen.
It is considered the birthday of mankind, and everyone is getting older by one year on this particular day. There is a tradition to cook on a seventh day a porridge of seven vegetables and rice, but this custom is now almost forgotten.
There are many traditions these days, because on the ninth day is the birthday of the main deity of Taoism - the Jade Emperor of Heaven. But now these traditions have almost disappeared, because these days are now working.
The fifteenth day
Celebration of street lamps.
It's interesting - what can not be done in the New Year
Chinese during the Spring Festival try to refrain from bad words. This applies not only to insults or abuse, but to all words with a negative connotation. For example: death, loss, pain, illness and similar words. They try to replace them with some kind of synonyms.
Also, the Chinese prefer not to take medicine and do not go to the doctors unless there is an urgent need. It is believed that in this case you will be ill all year. However, this belief is now dying.
A very bad sign is to smash something. If this happens, you need to carefully collect all the pieces of the broken object in red paper and discard it on the fifth day. Also a bad omen - to clean or wash clothes. It is still not worth taking or lending money.
It is very bad - if the child has cried, it can bring failure to the whole family, so children try to pamper and not punish during the Spring Festival.
Still bad signs - to use a needle or scissors, to shear, devastate any containers with rice, sleep after dinner and dress in black and white clothes.
It's interesting - what gifts you can give, and which you can not
The main New Year gift in China is a red envelope with money inside. Such envelopes are given even to children, which greatly surprises the Russians .
There is no analogue of Santa Claus in China, although some newspapers, magazines or Internet sites try to give him the God of Wealth for him. Frankly, such an analogy is "sucked out of a finger", and there is nothing in common between these characters. Chinese parents give envelopes to children themselves and do not try to say that they were brought by some god.
In addition to envelopes with money, the Chinese give each other and ordinary gifts, but there is a huge number of restrictions.
You can not give any sharp objects, which can "cut off" people's attitudes. You can not give a watch, otherwise you wish death to the donor, since in Chinese the words "clock" and "end" are consonant. You can not give umbrellas, the words "umbrella" and "share" sound similar.
You can not give mirrors, pearls, chrysanthemums, shoes, belts or ties, underwear, hats or purses. You still can not give anything associated with the number 4, or four subjects. You can not give something white or black.
Perhaps that's why the Chinese prefer red envelopes with money. With so many restrictions, it's difficult to choose something.
Good holidays, and read other interesting articles about China ( links below ).