In this post, we will discuss some interesting facts about Spring Festival 2023. Spring Festival, also known as Chinese Lunar New Year, is commonly referred to as “Xin Chun,” “Xin Sui,” or “Sui Dan” in Chinese. It is colloquially known as “Guo Nian” or “Guo Da Nian.” The date of the Spring Festival varies each year. So, when is the Spring Festival in 2023? When will the Chinese Lunar New Year be celebrated in 2023?
When is the Spring Festival in 2024?
The Spring Festival in 2024 will fall on Saturday, February 10th. According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, the Spring Festival typically begins on the first day of the first lunar month, which is in late January or early February each year. So in 2024, the first day of the Spring Festival will be on February 10th. The celebration then continues over a period of around two weeks, culminating with the Lantern Festival on February 24th.
The Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is widely celebrated in China. It has various names, such as Xin Chun, Xin Sui, Sui Dan, Guo Nian, or Guo Da Nian. With a profound historical origin rooted in ancient rituals and prayers, the Spring Festival represents the renewal of life and pays homage to ancestors. It carries rich cultural significance and is celebrated with traditional customs and practices.
What is the Zodiac of Year 2024?
In 2024 the Spring Festival or Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 10th, marking the start of the Jia Chen 甲辰 Dragon zodiac year. It will be a regular lunar year with 354 days and no leap month. The celebrations usually last around 2 weeks, culminating in the Lantern Festival on February 24th. It also coincides with the 75th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
What are the origin stories associated with the Spring Festival?
When it comes to the Spring Festival, people often recall the well-known legend of “Nian.” The reason it is called “Chu Xi” (Eve of the Lunar New Year) is because there was once a monster named Nian that terrorized villages. In order to drive it away, people made great efforts and tried many methods. According to folklore, an old man scared the Nian away with firecrackers, while another belief suggests that celestial beings sent soldiers to Earth who used red cloth and bamboo poles crackling in the fire to defeat the Nian monster. The Nian beast’s fear of the color red and loud noises became its defining characteristics. As a result, people hang red couplets, lanterns, and set off firecrackers and fireworks during the Spring Festival to drive away evil spirits and bring blessings, symbolizing good luck and warding off disasters.
What are some festive foods during this period?
The traditional foods during the Spring Festival may vary depending on regional customs. In the northern part of China, dumplings, also known as “Jiaozi,” are a must-have dish for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Eating dumplings represents the wish for good luck and fortune. In the southern region, people enjoy eating “Tangyuan,” sweet glutinous rice balls served in a soup, symbolizing family togetherness and unity. Fish is another essential dish, served either steamed, fried, or in other preparations. The fish is usually served whole, representing abundance and prosperity for the coming year. It is customary to save the fish head until after the tail is finished as a wish for surplus and abundance.
2024 China Public Holiday Calendar
|1 Jan||Mon||New Year Holiday|
|10 Feb to 17 Feb||Sat to Sat||Spring Festival|
|4 Apr to 6 Apr||Thu to Sat||Ching Ming Festival|
|1 May to 5 May||Wed to Sun||Labour Day Holiday|
|10 Jun||Mon||Dragon Boat Festival|
|15 Sep to 17 Sep||Sun to Tue||Mid-Autumn Festival|
|1 Oct to 7 Oct||Tue to Mon||National Day Holiday|
Interesting Facts about Spring Festival You Should Know
The term “Spring Festival” was not used in ancient times.
In ancient times, the first day of the first lunar month was not referred to as the “Spring Festival” but as “Yuan Dan.”
After the 1911 Revolution, the Gregorian calendar was adopted, and January 1st was named “Yuan Dan” (New Year’s Day), while the first day of the lunar month became known as the Spring Festival.
The term “Spring Festival” was not originally a festival.
In Chinese history, the term “Spring Festival” referred specifically to the solar term “Li Chun” (Beginning of Spring) among the 24 solar terms. In the “Book of the Later Han – Biography of Yang Zhen,” it is recorded: “Before the Spring Festival arrives, all officials are anxious, engaging in various preparations, as this signifies the end of drought.” During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, “Spring Festival” was a general term for the entire spring season.
Spring Festival has a narrow and broad meaning.
In its narrow sense, the Spring Festival generally refers to the start of the Chinese lunar year, specifically on the first day of the first lunar month.
In its broad sense, the Spring Festival in folklore refers to the period from the Laba Festival on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month to the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.
There can be two Spring Festivals.
A “Leap Spring Festival,” also known as “Leap First Month,” occurs due to the introduction of leap month adjustments to the calendar system starting from 1645 until 2800. In this period, there will be six instances of a leap first month, specifically in the years 1651, 2262, 2357, 2520, 2539, and 2634. According to the principle, the Spring Festival is celebrated in the first lunar month, but there have also been instances of celebrating it twice.
Lunar New Year’s Eve can also fall on the “29th.”
It is normal for a month to have less than 30 days in the lunar calendar. The current lunar calendar is based on astronomical data involving the Earth, Moon, and Sun, and the first day of each lunar month must be a “new moon” (when the moon is not visible). In reality, the time it takes for the moon to go from full to new averages around 29.53 days, resulting in the need for integer values when arranging the number of days in a month. This leads to the occurrence of “long months” with 30 days and “short months” with 29 days. If one of these months happens to be the twelfth lunar month, then there won’t be a Lunar New Year’s Eve in that year, and New Year’s Eve will be moved to the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth lunar month.
Celebrations during the Spring Festival vary each day.
Although the Spring Festival is an overarching tradition, the celebrations differ each day. From the first day to the seventh day, they are respectively known as the Day of the Rooster, Day of the Dog, Day of the Pig, Day of the Sheep, Day of the Ox, Day of the Horse, and Day of the Human. Legend has it that Nüwa created the rooster, dog, pig, sheep, ox, and horse over six days. It was only on the seventh day that she created humans after accumulating enough experience.
The Spring Festival is not exclusive to China.
Apart from China, many countries have also designated the Lunar New Year as a public holiday. These countries include South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Mauritius, Myanmar, and Brunei. Additionally, in the past, Japan also celebrated the Lunar New Year, but after the Meiji Restoration, they abolished the lunar calendar and shifted the holiday to the Gregorian calendar.
“Red Envelopes” are not actually “money.”
“Red envelopes” are not actually “money,” but symbolic items shaped like coins. According to legend, in ancient times, there was a creature called “Sui,” which had a black body and white hands. It would come out on New Year’s Eve to harm people. The red envelopes were specifically used to scare away this creature.
The orientation of the “Fu” character matters.
The “Fu” character on the front door should not be placed upside down. In folk tradition, only water tanks, garbage bins, and cabinets should have the upside-down “Fu” character. To avoid the symbolic “Fu” of the household flowing away when pouring water or discarding garbage, the upside-down “Fu” character is placed in these two locations, cleverly using the phrase “Fu arrives” to counteract “Fu departs.”
The earliest firecrackers were indeed made of bamboo.
The earliest reliable record of firecrackers can be found in the “Jingchu Suishi Ji” of the Southern Liang Dynasty: “The first day of the first lunar month is the day of the Three Yuan. It is called the Beginning of the Month. When the rooster crows, firecrackers are set off in front of the courtyard to ward off evil spirits.” At that time, firecrackers were made by placing bamboo in fire, which made a crackling sound when burned, hence the name “firecrackers.” Later, with the introduction of gunpowder, people started filling bamboo tubes with saltpeter, sulfur, charcoal, and other substances to create “firecrackers.” During the Song Dynasty, people commonly used paper tubes and stalks wrapped in gunpowder to make “Bian Pao” or firecrackers.
Hair should not be cut during the first lunar month.
According to the “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon – Great Treatise on Regulating the Spirit with Four Seasons,” during spring, hair should be left loose and allowed to grow freely, without cutting it. It was believed that the condition of the hair and nails could indicate severe illness or determine life and death. However, the saying “shaving one’s head means the death of an uncle” is baseless.
Greeting gestures have significance.
When men greet each other, they clasp their fists with the left hand over the right hand. Traditional Chinese customs devalue the right side compared to the left, so when clasping fists, the left hand should cover the right hand, which is known as “auspicious greeting.” If the right hand clasps the left hand, it is called “mourning fist” and is a gesture used when reporting a death or begging for mercy. The opposite applies to women.
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