Interesting questions for Chinese festivalextripod
1、Why do Chinese have Spring Festival? Where did it come from?
In Chinese mythology, the monster Nian is a beast that lives in the mountains. Every 365 days, it comes out of hiding to attack people, especially children. That day is the critical day for people. But Nian is sensitive to loud noises and is afraid of the color red. People came up with a plan to drive the monster away. On the day Nian came out, people shut doors and stay at home. They made loud noises and light firecrackers to scare away Nian.
2. Why should Chinese do house cleaning before Spring Festival?
The 24th day on the last lunar month is the day for cleanup. Everyone should have a spring-cleaning, do home cleaning, sweep their home, clean windows, wash clothes and clean dishes, so that keep dust away. In Chinese, the word “dust” has the same pronunciation with “old”. So to sweep dust is a metaphor of sweeping away the old and starting afresh.
3. Why do people wear new clothes on Spring Festival?
People wear new clothes in spring festival to make a good impression on others. New cloth is also the symbol of welcoming the New Year, hoping that everything is new and auspicious.
4. Why do Chinese set off firecracker on Spring Festival?
In legend, people set off firecracker to scare the monster “Nian” away. Nowadays, we set off firecrackers to bid a farewell to old days and celebrate the start of the New Year.
5. Why do Chinese Paste Spring Couplets?
Spring couplet is a kind of typical Chinese literature, expressing best wishes with brief, periodic and heroic couplets.
6. Why do Chinese hang red lanterns?
Red, in China always is to represent the good luck and auspiciousness. Red lantern is the symbol of happiness, peace and warmth
7. Why do Chinese make and eat Chinese dumpling?
In Chinese, the word of Chinese dumplings has the same pronunciation with the word which means the moment between the old and New Year. Chinese dumplings/Jiaozi means replacement of the old year by the New Year. Moreover, the shape of Chinese dumpling is like shoe-shaped gold ingot, which symbolizes the life rich and good luck.
8. Why do Chinese eat rice cakes?
Rice cake has the same pronunciation with the word which means every year we could be lucky and things get better. So rice cake shows Chinese’s wishes about everything going well.
9. Why do Chinese burn paper money?
People believe that paper money used in Hades. In order to express emotions mourning over a person’s death, people often burn paper to the deceased person, especially on festivals.
10. Why do Chinese burn incense?
Burning incense is a kind of offering, expressing gratitude and veneration to the Buddha. It’s a way to pray piously.
11. Why do Chinese worship ancestors? What are the different attitudes between Chinese and westerners on worship ancestors?
Chinese worship ancestors to express their sympathy and condolences to the deceased. Atmosphere is serious and mysterious. Compared with Chinese, Halloween has more romantic, happier and humor atmosphere.
12. Why do Chinese paste “blessing” upside down?
In Chinese, the word “blessing” is used to express yearning for good luck and happiness. And the word “upside down” has the same pronunciation with the word “coming”. Pasting “blessing” upside down is a metaphor of “good luck is coming into the house”.
13. Why do children get gift money on Spring Festival?
The Chinese word “gift money” has the same pronunciation with the ancient word which means “striking ghost down”. It’s the expectation of warding off evils and praying to God for children’s safe and strong. It doesn’t matter how much money in red envelope.
14. Why do Chinese eat rice glue balls?
Rice glue balls have the meaning safe and sound，and it’s also the time for family.
15. Why do Chinese eat eggs on Qingming Festival? What’s the similarity between Qingming festival and Thanksgiving Day?
The origin of eating eggs on Qingming Festival is concerned with the custom of “no cooking” and Cold Food Festival. During these days, egg is the best food. It is also said, egg is the symbol of life and birth, eating eggs is to express emotion of respect and worship.
People express emotion of thanksgiving and admiration on Qingming Festival. To some extent, it’s like Thanksgiving Day in western country.
16. Why do Chinese make rice dumplings with reed leaves?
Rice dumpling was wrapped in reed leaves. Reed leaf is similar to bamboo leaf, but broader than bamboo leaf. Reed leaf is soft, so it is easy to make rice dumplings. On the other hand, reed leaves make rice dumplings smell more fragrant.
17. What’s the origin of moon-cake?
Moon-cake used to be the offering when holding a ceremony for moon on mid-autumn day. Then it becomes a kind of gift exchanged by people. Moon-cakes taste sweet, and we can cut apart to share with families, symbolizing auspiciousness, family reunion, and sweetness.