Happy 2011 Spring Festival and Happy The Year of Rabbit!

The Spring Festival which also know as ”New Year Festival” in China, it is the most important and most ceremonious traditional festival of the Chinese nation.

Since the first year of in the beginning of Han Wu emperor, the day of January 1 of Lunar calendar each year was been enacted as the "beginning of the year", the date of ”New Year Festival” thus fixed since that and continues to this day. The “New Year Festival” was called as "New Year's Day” in ancient times. 1911, when the Xinhai Revolution taken place, the government began to use the Gregorian calendar to count the year, then January 1 of the Gregorian calendar as reputed as "New Year's Day”, and the first day of the first lunar month was taken as the "Spring Festival. "

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

The Spring Festival is the most important festival for the Chinese people and is when all family members get together, just like Christmas in the West. All people living away from home go back, becoming the busiest time for transportation systems of about half a month from the Spring Festival. Airports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations are crowded with home returnees.

The Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, often one month later than the Gregorian calendar. It originated in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-c. 1100 BC) from the people's sacrifice to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.

Strictly speaking, the Spring Festival starts every year in the early days of the 12th lunar month and will last till the mid 1st lunar month of the next year. Of them, the most important days are Spring Festival Eve and the first three days. The Chinese government now stipulates people have seven days off for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Many customs accompany the Spring Festival. Some are still followed today, but others have weakened.

On the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, many families make laba porridge, a delicious kind of porridge made with glutinous rice, millet, seeds of Job's tears, jujube berries, lotus seeds, beans, longan and gingko.

The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month is called Preliminary Eve. At this time, people offer sacrifice to the kitchen god. Now however, most families make delicious food to enjoy themselves.

After the Preliminary Eve, people begin preparing for the coming New Year. This is called "Seeing the New Year in".

Store owners are busy then as everybody goes out to purchase necessities for the New Year. Materials not only include edible oil, rice, flour, chicken, duck, fish and meat, but also fruit, candies and kinds of nuts. What's more, various decorations, new clothes and shoes for the children as well as gifts for the elderly, friends and relatives, are all on the list of purchasing.

Before the New Year comes, the people completely clean the indoors and outdoors of their homes as well as their clothes, bedclothes and all their utensils.

Then people begin decorating their clean rooms featuring an atmosphere of rejoicing and festivity. All the door panels will be pasted with Spring Festival couplets, highlighting Chinese calligraphy with black characters on red paper. The content varies from house owners' wishes for a bright future to good luck for the New Year. Also, pictures of the god of doors and wealth will be posted on front doors to ward off evil spirits and welcome peace and abundance.

The Chinese character "fu" (meaning blessing or happiness) is a must. The character put on paper can be pasted normally or upside down, for in Chinese the "reversed fu" is homophonic with "fu comes", both being pronounced as "fudaole." What's more, two big red lanterns can be raised on both sides of the front door. Red paper-cuttings can be seen on window glass and brightly colored New Year paintings with auspicious meanings may be put on the wall.

People attach great importance to Spring Festival Eve. At that time, all family members eat dinner together. The meal is more luxurious than usual. Dishes such as chicken, fish and bean curd cannot be excluded, for in Chinese, their pronunciations, respectively "ji", "yu" and "doufu," mean auspiciousness, abundance and richness. After the dinner, the whole family will sit together, chatting and watching TV. In recent years, the Spring Festival party broadcast on China Central Television Station (CCTV) is essential entertainment for the Chinese both at home and abroad. According to custom, each family will stay up to see the New Year in.

Waking up on New Year, everybody dresses up. First they extend greetings to their parents. Then each child will get money as a New Year gift, wrapped up in red paper. People in northern China will eat jiaozi, or dumplings, for breakfast, as they think "jiaozi" in sound means "bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new". Also, the shape of the dumpling is like gold ingot from ancient China. So people eat them and wish for money and treasure.

Southern Chinese eat niangao (New Year cake made of glutinous rice flour) on this occasion, because as a homophone, niangao means "higher and higher, one year after another." The first five days after the Spring Festival are a good time for relatives, friends, and classmates as well as colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and chat leisurely.

Burning fireworks was once the most typical custom on the Spring Festival. People thought the spluttering sound could help drive away evil spirits. However, such an activity was completely or partially forbidden in big cities once the government took security, noise and pollution factors into consideration. As a replacement, some buy tapes with firecracker sounds to listen to, some break little balloons to get the sound too, while others buy firecracker handicrafts to hang in the living room.

The lively atmosphere not only fills every household, but permeates to streets and lanes. A series of activities such as lion dancing, dragon lantern dancing, lantern festivals and temple fairs will be held for days. The Spring Festival then comes to an end when the Lantern Festival is finished.

Chinese New Year or the Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Despite its winter occurrence, in China it is known as "Spring Festival," the literal translation of the Chinese name (Pinyin: Chūn Jié), owing to the difference between Western and traditional Chinese methods for computing the seasons.

Now, as the "Spring Festival" in China and the new Lunar Year of Rabbit is coming at the corner of street, we are also on the tiptoe of expecting a long term holiday to stay and enjoy this traditional festival with our family members, it is so happy and exciting! now let me send my best wishes to all Chinese people no matter you are in domestic or go abroad, wish you and your whole family Happy New Year and Happy Spring Fesival!

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts


Happy Laba Festival!

Today in China, is the 8th day of December of the lunar calendar (eighth day of the twelfth lunar month), this day is the traditional “Laba Festival” in China.

The December of the lunar calendar is known as the twelfth lunar month commonly, and the 8th day of December of the lunar calendar is customarily called "Laba", the Laba Festival in China has a very long tradition and history, on that day people to cook and eat Laba porridge is the the most traditional and most luxurious custom all over the country in China.

In China, the history of people eating Laba porridge has lasted for more than one thousand years. Laba porridge also called "Seven Treasures and Five Flavors porridge." The custom was began firstly in the Song Dynasty, and when days come to the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month, whether the court, officials, temples, or common people will cook Laba porridge at home.

In the Qing Dynasty, the custom of eating Laba porridge become more popular. In palace, the Emperor, Queen, Princes and so on will accustomed to largess the civil and military ministers, chamberlains and maids and Laba porridge, and at the same time will distribute rice and fruits to various temples. In folk society, every family will cook Laba porridge and worship their ancestors; The same time, all members of the family will reunite together to eat Laba porridge, as well as presenting Laba porridge to their relatives and good friends.

In China, people cook Laba porridge in different areas has a great variety throughout China, artful and wide variety. Among them, the most daintily pattern is in Peking, where people will mix in more items into the rice, such as red dates, lotus seeds, walnuts, chestnuts, almonds, pine nuts, longans, hazelnuts, grapes, gingko nuts, chestnuts, black hairs, rose, red beans, peanuts ... ... The total variety will no less than twenty. People will getting busy at the evening of the seventh day in the twelfth lunar month, wash rice, soak fruits, peel skins, remove stones, picking and then began to cook in the middle of the night, and then stew the porridge slowly with low fire until the early morning at the next day, at that time the Laba porridge was to be considered finished fully.

Typically, the Laba porridge was been cooked with eight fresh cereals and fruits which harvest on that year, usually are sweet porridge. However, many farmers in the Central Plains area of China are prefer more to cook salty Laba porridge, so in addition to rice, millet, mung beans, cowpeas, red beans, peanuts, jujubes and other raw materials, they will add sliced pork, radish, cabbage, vermicelli, seaweed, tofu, etc. into the Laba porridge..

The Cooking way of Laba porridge:

Ingredients: rice, black rice, glutinous rice, barley, peanuts, red beans, lotus seeds, red dates.


1. Wash all the ingredients, add with sufficit quantum of water;

2. Put all ingredients into an electric pressure pot and steam it for about 35 minutes.

In addition, the "Laba Festival " in China is also the most important festival in the twelfth lunar month, which was know as "La Day in ancient time. " From the Qin Dynasty, the Laba Festival was used to worship the ancestors and gods, as well as pray for good harvest and good fortune. During the Laba Festival, aside from the worship activities, people were accustomed to expel epidemic diseases.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts