The Chinese celebrate a wide variety of traditional festivals based on the lunar calendar, the dates of which follow the regular appearance of the full moon.
Almost every festival has its own origins and customs that reflect the traditional practices and morals of the entire Chinese nation and its people. These festivals are a true immersion into the heart of Chinese culture.
All of them include common elements such as the wish for happiness and well-being, the warding off of misfortune, communion between man and heaven, and family reunion. And, of course, the festivals are an opportunity to relax and have fun.
Although the Chinese way of life has changed over the years, the importance of these traditional festivals in today’s life has not disappeared.
Each festival is unique in the way it is celebrated, and the same festival may look slightly different depending on the region and the influence of different dynasties on local customs.
In addition to the major festivals discussed below, many other holidays are celebrated in modern China, demonstrating the important role of tradition in Chinese life. For example, there are many ethnic group festivals with unique colors; all of them help reinforce the cultural identity of the Chinese nation.
Chinese New Year
Also known as the Chinese Spring Festival (春节, chūnjié), this is undoubtedly one of the most important Chinese festivals, with a history dating back more than 4,000 years.
The celebration lasts for more than two weeks, starting from the eve of the holiday.
The Chinese New Year festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar; that is, on the first day of the first lunar month.
The Chinese Lantern Festival (元宵节, yuánxiāojié) marks the end of the New Year celebrations.
It is celebrated fifteen days after the New Year and heralds the beginning of the new lunar calendar.
Traditionally, people light thousands of colorful lanterns in cities, making this one of the most colorful holidays of the year.
Tomb Cleansing Day
Qingming Festival (清明节, qīngmíngjié) is also commonly known as the “Tomb Sweeping Festival” because of the tradition of cleaning and tidying up the graves of the deceased.
Qingmingjie falls exactly fifteen days after the spring equinox and is one of the oldest traditional festivals in China.
Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival (端午节, duānwǔjié) is another ancient Chinese festival that attracts millions of people.
It is also known as the Double Five Festival and is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
People celebrate it by gathering to participate in or watch dragon boat races, especially in southern China. The festival is associated with the sad story of Qu Yuan, a famous poet of ancient times who died by drowning.
Summer Solstice Festival
In the history of Chinese dynasties, the summer solstice (xiàzhìjié 夏至节) was the occasion for a multitude of festivities, with traditional celebrations dating back more than 2,000 years.
The summer solstice marks the longest day, and this period was considered by ancient Chinese emperors as a great opportunity to hold magnificent festivals and celebrations around the worship of the Earth.
By Andreina Ibarra.
Read also: Millenary Traditions of the Chinese New Year