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Brief Introduction to Spring Festival

The oldest and most important festival in China is the Spring Festival, which marks a new year on the lunar calendar. The Spring Festival represents the desire for a new life.

It's called the Spring Festival because it marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter.
Throughout history, the Spring Festival had different names at different times. By far the most popular name is 'Yuan Dan', which means 'beginning' and 'morning', implying the beginning of a new spring and a new year. In the past the actual time of the Spring Festival also varied. During the Han Dynasty the beginning of spring was the Spring Festival, but during the Northern and Southern Dynasty, the entire spring was viewed as the Spring Festival. After 1949, it was decided that January 1st on the solar calendar would be 'Yuan Dan' and January 1st on the lunar calendar would be the Spring Festival.

Although the climax of the Spring Festival usually refers to the first day of January on the lunar calendar and the night previous, the New Year season extends from the middle of the 12th month of the previous year to the middle of the first month of the lunar New Year. The Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year season and life once again settles into a routine.

There are many celebrations during the Spring Festival including the worship of gods and the Buddha, paying respects to the ancestors, general house cleaning, welcoming the god of wealth and sending away hungry ghosts.

New Year Customs

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