Qingming Festival

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Qingming Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, which is also the most important festival for sacrifice, and it is 108 days after the winter solstice. The traditional Qingming Festival has been celebrated since Zhou Dynasty, which was about 2,500 years ago. The theme of this festival is to tend graves and have some outdoor activities.

“Qingming” was just a name for a solar term at first. Solar terms are 24 points in calendars, and the most famous four terms that everyone knows are vernal equinox (Chunfen), summer solstice (Xiazhi), autumnal equinox (Qiufen), and winter solstice (Dongzhi). But there are actually 20 more terms that match astronomical events and/or natural phenomenon. For example, the rain water (Yushui) is on February 19, which means more rain than snow, and the awakening of insects (Jingzhe) is on March 6, which means hibernating insects awaken. The next coming solar term is the grain rain (Guyu), which means the rain will help the grain grow.

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The traditional customs of this festival are graves tending, fire forbidden, being outdoor, planting trees, and playing with swing, kickball, and polo. The most important aspect is to worship and tend the graves and tombs. On the other hand, everyone has to go outside and have fun. Therefore, this is a really special festival, which involves tears from parting forever and laughs from playing outside.

About the food, it is always different everywhere in China, no matter if it’s a festival or not. In Jinnan, people make small loaf of steamed bread with a little walnuts, jujube, and beans in a specific shape, which is a traditional food called “mo” or “bo”. In Shanghai, there is a really healthy food called “qingtuan”. To make qingtuan, people stir the juice of brome into polished glutinous rice first. After it, they put sweetened bean or jujube paste in the middle as fillings. In the end, they steam this with a special kind of leaves on the bottom of the steamer, so the food smells and tastes fresh eventually. People in Shanghai have this with their special peach blossom porridge together. In some areas, people eat boiled eggs colored in red. There are also a plenty kinds of pastries desserts everywhere.

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Mo or bo

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Qingtuan

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Peach blossom porridge

Chinese Valentine’s Day

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The Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend and it reminds me the Valentine’s Day in China. It is also called Qi Xi Festival or Qi Qiao Festival in Chinese.

The date is July 7th in the lunar calendar and it is August 9th in 2016. July 7th means the “evening of seven” and the original meaning was from the stars in the sky – the Plough, since about 800 B.C. The original myth for the festival is about a couple in the ancient China, who can’t get together but only meet each other once a year, which is the Qi Xi Festival.

It has been a famous festival in China and some other countries in Asia and it is an especially important festival in the southern part of China. People make Chinese knottings with red color ropes and cut red papers into some specific patterns, because these decorations mean happiness and luckiness in ancient China. In some provinces from the south, girls do their nails in a beautiful and special way, because it was also lucky for girls in ancient China to meet their “Mr. Right”. They also put candles in a boat made of paper into the river, in order to pray for their coming relationship. In some other provinces, girls also make Chinese traditional cookies and beautiful dresses by themselves to show that they are not only modern independent women, but also good at the things women had to do for their families back to thousands years ago. I really want to watch the contests for girls to make cookies and design their own clothes during Qi Xi Festival. But unfortunately, the Qi Xi Festival is not a very popular festival in the area where I’m from. Qi Xi is more famous in the non-developing towns in south and in Thailand, Japan, and Korea. Here are some photos of what girls make and do on Qi Xi Festival.

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