5 Chinese Festivals That'll Let You Explore China's Culture
Chinese Festivals are simply magnificent and laced with mystery and spirituality. These guys really know how to breathe life into celebrations and if you ever decide to do yourself a favour by going to China during a festive season, then we promise you, the Chinese charm will get imprinted in your memory forever.
These festivals are borne out of China's long-standing history. All their elements are garnished with ancient Chinese traditions and mythologies. In fact, there are 5 Chinese Festivals that are such an important part of China’s heritage that it is actually possible to acquire a wholesome understanding of their culture by just reading on them.
The theme is red and you are invited!
1. The Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is also known as The Spring Festival and is the most important festival of China. This New Year is different. It does not begin on the 1st January every year because its date is decided by the Chinese Lunar Calendar and as a matter of fact, a quarter of the world celebrates it!
Unlike the regular zodiac signs that are associated with months, the Chinese have 12 animal zodiac signs that symbolise and are associated with specific years. For example, 2018 was the year of the dog and 2019 will be the year of the Pig.
If you visit China during this time, then you will definitely learn a lesson in cleaning. How? Actually, the Chinese bid farewell to the old year by cleaning their houses, shops and other surrounding so that they can welcome good fortune for the New Year. They will love it if you help them clean as well.
After the cleanliness drive, get ready to be pampered with scrumptious dinners, brand new clothes, golden firecrackers at midnight and everyone around you obsessing a lot over the color red because it is considered to be extremely auspicious. And if it is your dream to be rich then do not forget to to participate in the Chinese tradition of eating a lot of dumplings. One of the dumplings you eat could have a coin in it and in China it is believed that whoever eats the dumpling with a coin in it will become super duper rich (maybe a little fat too, if your luck is hard) in the next New Year.
All of this should very easily overwhelm a normal person but if you still crave for more, then you can choose to explore a complete makeover of the Chinese New Year on your backpacking trip from Hong Kong to Shanghai because these two cities have developed a modern take on this festival over time with fabulous parades, on road festivities, and local and international performers doing dragon and lion dances.
2. China's Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival of China is celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar Month and marks the end of the Chinese New Year Festival duration. People celebrate it by going out to appreciate the bright full moon, flying drones and lanterns. Sometimes these lanterns have riddles written on them. Solving lantern riddles has gradually become a very popular activity in The Lantern Festival. People gather around these colourful lanterns to guess the riddles and then tally the answers with the lantern owners. Those who get the right answers win small prizes for their efforts. Then, the Chinese enjoy a meal and spending time together with their family and friends outdoors.
The end of the lantern festival also puts an end to all the New Year taboos like no hair washing, no clothes washing, no visiting the hospitals, and no crying and it signifies the return of spring while also symbolising family reunions.
3. The Mid Autumn Festival
You can think of the Mid-Autumn Festival as the second most important festival of China after the Chinese New Year. This festival symbolises family reunion for the Chinese and is celebrated on a full moon which is considered as a symbol of happiness.
The Chinese get together with their families from upto three generations to eat dinner at grandparents’ home. They eat duck and other festival foods after which, they go out and traditionally offer moon sacrifices and other offerings like mooncakes and fruits believing that the moon will shower them with good luck.
4. China Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival of China is a sports event that originates from the Dragon Worshiping traditions and superstitions in China. It is also known as a day of remembrance for Qu Yuan, Wu Zixu, and Cao E.
This festival was added to the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List and it's date is again, decided by the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
It is needless to say that the Dragon Boat Racing is the most important element of this festival and legend has it that people paddle on boats seeking the body of a patriotic poet known as Qu Yuan who had crowned himself in a river. The boats are decorated like Chinese Dragons and whichever team wins the race is believed to have earned good luck and a happy life for the next year.
You can enjoy witnessing this festival happening in Hong Kong. Over there, remember to eat Zongzi and drink Realgar wine and wear perfume pouches to drive malaises and evil energies away
5. The Qingming Festival
The Chinese are a very family oriented people. They celebrate the Qingming Festival to commemorate their loved ones that they have lost. This festival is considered to be a very important day of sacrifice for the Chinese and they go out to sweep the tombs of their ancestors. This is their way of showing them respect. Apart from sweeping the Tomb they also repair it, upkeep it, fly kites and practice the custom of putting Willow branches on gates and front doors to ward off evil spirits. on gates and front doors of their houses to ward off evil spirits.
This is not all. The Qingming festival is not devoid of fun too because people also participate in a sport that can ward off the cold in anticipation of the arriving spring. .
So if you have always fancied living in a wonderland and wanted to be enchanted by something truly magical then China’s festivals will just sweep you off your feet! It is afterall, a majestic land full of surprises and an adventurous person like you must already be feeling the call of China right now!
To be honest, it’s hard to imagine that you need more reasons to visit China. So, if that is the case then follow us on Instagram and let us take you to one of the most dazzling destination of the world!