There are many traditional festivals in China. Most of the festivals exist to memorialize and highlight the past glory of outstanding personalities, celebrate rich old traditions, or to reminisce about their absence. The Chinese people preserve their age-old custom of honoring traditional spirits impeccably for future generations through festivals.
Among the major traditional festivals are: Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Ghost Festival, Qing Ming Festival, and The Seventh Festival. Below are main three festivals:
- Spring Festival
- Lantern Festival
- Dragon Boat Festival
The Spring festival is said to be the most important festival. Its main purpose is to celebrate the coming of New Year. The Spring festival begins on the eve of the very first day of a lunar year, which occurs between late January and early February, and ends on the fifth day of the first month of the lunar year. On the eve of the festival, people pay off their old debts, have their hair cut, put on new clothes, and clean their homes. Northern Chinese families, on the eve of spring festival, feast on Jiaozi (steamed dumplings), while southern Chinese families make Nian Gao (a sort of sticky, sweet glutinous rice pudding).
Also on the eve between the old and New Year, people light a lot of firecrackers, to ward off the evil spirits of the past. A lot of dancing, singing, and some customary folk performances are seen throughout China. The New Year is welcomed with much enthusiasm.
The Lantern festival marks the ending of the Chinese New Year. The significance of this festival is that it is a special time for young girls to play matchmaking games with the lanterns, to find their partners. It is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. It falls on the 15th of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
The Dragon Boat Festival is observed mainly to remember the Chinese patriot Qu Yuan. The legend has it that he gave his life by drowning himself in the Mi Lo River to save the nation from corrupt rulers two thousand years ago. During this festival, the Chinese do some spectacular dragon boat racing. The dragon-headed boats measure 10 feet, and hold 20-22 boatsmen. This festival falls on Day 5 of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
Additionally, some ethnic groups observe their own festivals, such as the Nadam Fair of the Mongolian tribes, the Water Sprinkling Festival of the Dai people, and Yi people’s Torch Festival.