年味十足的传统习俗Prepare for the Chinese Spring Festival

2014 Spring Festival falls on January 31. The holiday in China starts from January 31 to February 6, 2014. It is the Year of the Horse according to Chinese zodiac.

2014年农历春节是1月31号。这次春节假期从1月31日延续到2月6日。根据中国生肖算法,2014年是马年。

Chinese Spring Festival, also called Lunar New Year, has more than 4,000 years of history. Being one of the traditional Chinese festivals, it is the grandest and the most imp0rtant festival for Chinese people. It is also the time for the whole families to get together, which is similar with Christmas Day to the westerners. Originating during the Shang Dynasty (ab0ut 17th – 11th century BC), Spring Festival, which celebrates family reunio, is full of rich and colorful activities, and hopes with the advent of spring and flowers blossoming. People from different regions and different ethnic groups celebrate it in their unique ways.

中国的春节,也被称为农历新年,迄今已有四千多年的历史。对于中国人来说,这是规模最大,最重要的传统节日。就如同西方的圣诞节一样,春节是一家团 聚的日子。春节起源于商朝(公元前11-17世纪),为了庆祝全家团圆和表达对春暖花开的期盼,节日期间会准备丰富多彩的活动。不同地区和不同少数民族人 们会用自己独特的方式庆祝这一传统节日。

Festival Time
节日时长

It comes on the first day of Chinese lunar calendar and lasts for almost half of a month. But in folk custom, this traditional holiday lasts from the 23rd day of the twelfth month to the 15th day of the first month (Lantern Festival) in the lunar calendar. Among these days, the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the New Year is the peak time. The exact days are different in every year according to the lunar calendar.

春节从农历新年第一天开始,几乎要持续一整个月。但在民间传统中,这一节日从腊月23日就开始了,直到正月十五(元宵节)。在这些天里,除夕和春节第一天是最热闹的时候。根据农历,每年除夕和春节所在的公历日期都有所不同。

History
春节由来

It is said that the custom of Spring Festival started in when people offered sacrifice to ancestors in the last month of Chinese lunar calendar. At that time, people prepared the sacrifice by doing thorough cleaning, having bathes and so on. Later, people began to worship different deities as well on that day. It is the time that almost all the farm works were done and people have free time. The sacrificing time changed according to the farming schedule and was not fixed until the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD). The customs of worshipping deities and ancestors remains even though the ceremonies are not as grand as before. It is also the time that spring is coming, so people held all kinds of ceremonies to welcome it.
据说,春节起初源于人们在农历腊月祭祀先祖,在那期间,人们为了祭祀会做大扫除,沐浴换衣等 等。后来人们开始在那一天敬奉神明。春节期间正好各种农耕活动结束,人们有空余时间。最开始的祭祀日期由于农耕活动并不固定,直到汉朝(公元前202年- 公元220年)才固定下来。祭祀神明和先祖的传统延续下来,但并不像以前那样浩大。春节也是春天的开始,所以人们会举办各种仪式迎接春天的到来。

Legends
春节传说

There are many legends ab0ut Spring Festival in Chinese culture. In folk culture, it is also called “guonian” (meaning “passing a year”). It is said that the “nian” (year) was a strong monster which was fierce and cruel and ate one kind of animal including human being a day. Human beings were scared ab0ut it and had to hide on the evening when the “nian” came out. Later, people found that “nian” was very scared ab0ut the red color and fireworks. So after that, people use red color and fireworks or firecrackers to drive away “nian”. As a result, the custom of using red color and setting off fireworks remains.
中国文化中有很多关于春节的传 说。在传统文化中,春节亦被称为“过年”。传说“年”是一种凶猛异常的怪物,每天都会吃一种动物(包括人)。人们非常惧怕他,当“年”夜间出来活动时,人 们会找地方躲起来。后来,人们发现“年”非常害怕红色和爆竹,于是,人们用红色和鞭炮来驱赶“年”。久而久之,春节用大红色和放鞭炮的习俗就保留了下来。

Festivities Schedule
春节活动

Preparing the New Year starts 7 days before the New Year’s Eve. According to Chinese lunar calendar, people start to clean the house on Dec. 24, butcher on Dec. 26th and so on. People have certain things to do on each day. These activities will end Jan. 15th of the lunar calendar.
新年的准备工作在除夕前的七天就开始了。根据中国农历,人们从腊月二十四开始打扫屋子,二十六日杀猪宰羊等等。每一天都有不同的活动,所有这些活动将在正月十五结束。

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