Celebrations and festivals make an important aspect of the traditional Chinese culture. Throughout the traditional Chinese calendar, a number of festivals and celebrations are evident. However, the Spring Festival is the most important and longest celebration in the traditional Chinese calendar. Although the festival dates back to 4000 years ago, it is the most popular event in the modern Chinese communities and is celebrated in various countries with strong Chinese connection or population (Ahmad and Hussain 58). Noteworthy, the festival was traditionally dedicated to honour traditional Chinese deities. The purpose of this speech is to provide an in-depth analysis of the event, with an aim of developing knowledge of the traditional, cultural and modern significance of the Chinese Spring Festival. Despite being an age-old tradition, the Chinese spring festival has become a part of the modern culture because it is a symbol of connection between the modern people and their traditions as well as a symbol of social integration between families and societies.
First, it is important to note the origins of the Chinese spring festival in the traditional Chinese culture. According to Chinese legends, the festival started with the people’s connection and struggle with Nian, a mythical beast that would attack villages on the first day of every year, eating animals, crops and children (Flanagan 43). To avoid being attacked, families were supposed to leave food near their doors for the beast to eat. In this way, they would protect themselves and their wealth for the whole year. However, one day, the people witnessed the beast running away from a child wearing a red garment. Since then, families started scaring Nian by hanging red garments and lanterns on their doorposts and window frames. Hongjun Laozu, a mythical monk from Taiwan, finally killed Nian. Since then, the first day of every New Year is marked by celebrations involving red color as one of the main aspects of the event (Flanagan 66).
The festival time is an important aspect of the Chinese calendar. Unlike Christmas in the western traditions, the Spring Festival lasts for half of the first month. According to the Chinese culture, the festival is supposed to last from the 23rd day of the twelfth month of an old year to the 15th day of the first month of the New Year (Welch 94). Nevertheless, the first day of the first month is the peak.
The festival is marked by a common schedule. For instance, people often begin to prepare for the festival some seven days before the New Years Eve. They take such tasks as cleaning their houses and homesteads on December 24, slaughtering animals and visiting relatives and friends. The 15th day of the first month marks the end of these activities.
Apart from these events, the festival is signified by a set of customs and practices tradition to the Chinese beliefs. For instance, every family is involved in a thorough cleaning of its house. In addition, every family stocks enough food of various kinds. For example, most families purchase fish, meat, fruits, roasted seeds, nuts, and other types of food (Flanagan 84). It is also common for families to buy new and attractive clothes. Every family is supposed to paste red scrolls on the main gate. Two poetic couplets, complementing each other, are painted on each side of the gate.
Noteworthy, a number of taboos and beliefs are associated with the festival. For example, the festival itself is an omen. People must desist from bad words and speeches such as those related to certain events and things including killing, death, breaking, illness and ghosts. In addition, food stores or rice barrels must be stocked because emptiness is a sign of lack of food in the coming year. It is also forbidden to take medicine on the first day of the year because it is a sign that many people will be sick in the course of the year (Welch 53).
The festival further provides opportunities for individuals and families to develop strong connections with their relatives and members of the extended families. For instance, people tend to hold annual “get together” events that bring them together as large families (Qian, Abdur and Keng 217). In fact, families tend to use the event in introducing their children to members of their extended families, which creates strong ties and a sense of belonging. In this manner, people tend to learn their culture and traditions within their societies.
In the modern context, the festival has become an important part of the Chinese culture. In fact, there is little connection between the traditional beliefs and myths of the culture and the current events. Secondly, the event is a major form of tourist attraction (Ahmad and Hussain 91). For instance, the Chinese use the event to display various talents such as arts, music, dance and drama.
From this analysis, it is worth noting that the Chinese spring festival has been a major event for more than 4000 years. In fact, it has changed with time, making it possible to fit the modern culture. In addition, a number of tasks and taboos are associated with the festival, which indicates the mythical and traditions of the Chinese. However, the modern event has gained popularity in other parts of the world, which has made it a major form of tourist attraction and leisure.
Ahmad, Zamri and Simon Hussain. “KLSE Long Run Overreaction and the Chinese New‐Year Effect.” Journal of business finance & accounting 28.1‐2 (2001): 63-105. Print.
Flanagan, Alice K. Chinese New Year. New York, NY: Compass Point Books, 2012. Print.
Qian, Wang, Mohammed Abdur Razzaque and Kau Ah Keng. “Chinese cultural values and gift-giving behavior.” Journal of Consumer Marketing 24.4 (2007): 214-228. Print.
Welch, Bjaaland. Chinese New Year. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.