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A Family Festival


Text by Ni Junchen

The eighth day of the twelfth month on the Chinese lunar calendar on January 19, 2013, kicked off the biggest holiday in the country. Atop millions of breakfast tables are rice porridge with nuts and dried fruit. People welcome Spring Festival by worshipping the kitchen god, thoroughly cleaning the house, laundering clothing to get rid of bad luck, posting antithetical couplets, cooking loads of food, and purchasing new clothes.

Over the last few years, China has seen a rapid economic development and increasing cultural exchange with Western countries. More Chinese festivals are becoming recognized overseas. Nevertheless, Westerners’ most common introduction to the spirit of the ancient Chinese culture via TV programs displaying dragon dances or decorative lanterns and streamers doesn’t do the holiday justice. One of the most amazing social phenomena in the history of mankind occurs annually when almost all Chinese people travel simultaneously and the entire country seems to stop working at the same moment.

This is tradition. It is the moment people bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new, pay homage to their ancestors, socialize with relatives and friends, and pray for prosperity.

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