Festivals of Ancient China

In ancient China, the majority of people put in long hours every day. They didn’t get weekends off and put in long hours every day. However, there were other national holidays spread out over the course of the year. During these occasions, families would congregate and rejoice. In China, several of these holidays are still observed.

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival

The Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, was the most significant holiday of the year. The entire festival is 15 days long. The first day of the New Year marks the beginning, while the Lantern Festival marks the conclusion.

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The Spring Festival was observed by the Ancient Chinese as far back as the Shang Dynasty, more than three thousand years ago. Chinese folklore states that the celebration began when a small community used the sound of firecrackers and drums to frighten the monster Nian away.

During the Spring Festival, family gatherings, gift-exchanging, and the setting off of fireworks all take place. Red is also well-liked since it was used to frighten the monster Nian away.

Festival of Lanterns

The Lantern Festival is a unique event that takes place on the final day of the Spring Festival. The first iteration of this celebration was in the Han Dynasty. They lit lanterns as a tribute to Buddha. Riddle guessing, which dates back to the Song Dynasty, eating rice dumplings, performing the lion dance, and performing the dragon dance are further customs associated with this day.

Qingming Festival

The Qingming Festival takes place from April 3 to 6. The festival is also known as Clear and Bright Festival. It was traditionally a sign that farmers might start preparing their fields for planting and plowing. It is regarded as a day of ancestral sacrifice. There are customs that involve planting plants, kite flying, cleaning the graves of the deceased, and only consuming cold food.

Festival of Dragon Boats

The Zhou Dynasty’s Warring States Period is when the Dragon Boat Festival first began. According to legend, on this day, a prominent poet by the name of Qu Yuan committed suicide by plunging into a river after learning that his country had been overrun. On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, this celebration is held. On this day, people compete in dragon boat races, eat zongzi, which are rice dumplings, and wear scent pouches to fight off evil spirits.

The Night of Sevens Festival

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is when the Night of the Sevens Festival takes place. The Han Dynasty was the first to observe this event. A cowhand who fell in love with a maiden from heaven is the subject of the love story that inspired the festival. The Queen of Heaven, however, forced the lovers apart. They ultimately reconnected on this day after a protracted separation attempt. The day was traditionally observed as a time for young ladies to pray for good husbands and adults to worship the stars. Today, it’s more of a day for lovers, similar to Valentine’s Day.

Moon Festival

The Moon Festival, which honors the abundance of the harvest, is held in late September. Another name for it is the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Ancient China, it has been seen since the Zhou Dynasty. Eating moon cakes is the traditional custom for this day. The Yuan Dynasty was ruled by the Mongols when this custom first began.

Festival of the Double Ninth

On the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, this holiday is observed. The Ancient Chinese held a particular place for the number nine. It was the emperor’s and the dragon’s lucky number. Chrysanthemum tea was traditionally consumed by persons who had scaled a hill or mountain in order to ward off evil spirits.

Festival of the Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year is announced by this festivity. In the Han Dynasty, people began to frequently commemorate this day. Throughout Ancient China’s history, this celebration was significant. People visited with friends and family and took the day off work. They sacrificed things as well for their ancestors.