Spring Festival Customs of Guilin and Happy Lantern Festival!
Dear friends, Happy Spring Festival to you all!
(Citizens in Guilin hope to bring good luck home. photographed in the Seven Star Park.)
The first day of Chinese lunar New Year, which happens to fall on February 10th in solar calendar this year, is the grandest day for Chinese people. And different people in different parts of China have distinct ways to celebrate this traditional festival. As for locals of Guilin city, they often leave their home for the parks and streets full of jubilant delight.
(Proprietors wish that scraps of red firecrackers paper could bring a flourishing business.)
On the eve of Chinese lunar New Year, especially when the bell of the New Year chimes, cracklings of firecrackers and fireworks reverberate across the country as a whole. The next day, roads will then be strewed with scraps of red firecrackers paper. In the first three days of lunar new year (from February 10th to 12th in solar calendar this year), citizens of Guilin and the surrounding counties come to parks in swarms.
( People pick up branches or firewood in the hope of keeping on making money in the new year.)
In the Seven Star Park, locals carry branches or firewood picked up along the way in the hope they can keep on making money in the new year, in that in Chinese "柴" (firewood) shares a similar pronunciation with "财" (fortune); in the West Hill Park, citizens are offered lettuce with the same wishes for the new year, because lettuce in Chinese reading "生菜" corresponds to the pronunciation of "生财", meaning making big money.
(Two adults carrying branches will make big money in the new year.)
Besides, it is a custom to pick up nails for those who wish to have a baby, for "钉" (nail) shares the same pronunciation with "丁" (baby). All these are the ways for Guilin citizens to bring good luck home, or you may put it in Chinese "走财路".
Three days later, we Chinese people are ushering another traditional festival – Lantern Festival. Also called Yuanxiao Festival, it refers to the fifteenth day of first lunar month. This year the festival falls on the February 24th. Usually, it is not only the first full moon of the new year in Chinese lunar calendar, but also foretells that spring comes to the earth. People celebrate the festival as it is the extension of Spring Festival. As is custom, Chinese people often hang lanterns, enjoy the full moon outside, set off fireworks, guess lantern riddles, hold family reunion and have other activities. On this day, people also eat yuanxiao, or tangyuan (meaning rice dumplings in English) to pray harmony and happiness for the family.