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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chinese Spring Festival

Chinese Spring Festival is drawing near and I feel a bit homesick nowadays.
      It is the most important festival for the Chinese. Everyone tries his best to go back to enjoy the family reunion. But this year, I will not. This is my first absence. 
     Preparations begin at least 10 days (even 1 month for some people) before it. People are busy doing spring cleaning, buying new pieces of furniture, new clothes, and the most important item----all kinds of delicious food. On the last day of a Lunar Year, we paste the Chinese character 'Fu' (meaning ‘good luck, good fortune, blessing’ etc.) on the center of the door and decorate windows with paper-cut pictures. Firecrakers and fireworks crack so loudly that we can’t hear each other. Then the most significant moment comes. All family members sit around a table to enjoy the reunion feast. Jiao zi in north China and nian gao (a kind of sticky rice cake) in the south are the indispensable foods. In the evening, we watch The Spring Festival Gala Evening on TV and nibble goodies time and again until midnight. 
     On the following days, we visit relatives and friends to extend New Year's greetings, which is called Bai nian. Other traditional activities include Temple Fairs, Yangge dancing, and lion and dragon dancing. The Spring Festival lasts until the Lantern Festival  which is 15 days later.
Ms. Fangyi Xia (Visiting Scholar from Tianjin Open University)


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