Spring Festival (commonly known as “the Chinese New Year”) is from the first day to the 15th day of the first month in a new year. During the Spring Festival, the whole family pays homage to Heaven and Earth and the family ancestors, and have the family reunion dinner in the evening.
Chuxi (Chinese New Year’s Eve): As a celebration that is primarily centered around the family and family reunions where the families join together to celebrate the beginning of the new year, the celebrations involve feasting. On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, there is a ceremony in which families all gather to bid farewell to the old year. During these celebrations, the families offer sacrifices to the family gods, the heaven, and the ancestors. The gods of the properties and land are honored as well, with offerings to these gods put at the front door of homes. There is also the reunion dinner or Tuan Nian, which is an important family celebration and gathering. People also stay up throughout the night on Chinese New Year’s Eve, which is called Shousui.
Lantern Festival: the festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month. The most important and prevalent customs are enjoying lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, eating yuanxiao (ball-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice flour and stuffed with different fillings).
Chunshe Festival: Chunshe is a traditional folk festival falling on the second day of the second month of the lunar calendar. People carry out a sacrifice ritual in honor of Tudishen (land god). On this day, people cook rice which will be offered to their ancestors and sweep new tombs of their family members.
Qingming Festival: the Qingming festival is a day of reverence for Chinese. People hold ceremonies for ancestors and sweep their tombs on this day.
Duanwu Festival: it falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. During the festival, people arrange various plants to dispel pathogens and disease. Hanging mugwort and calamus is an integral part of the festival. Drinking realgar wine is another prevalent custom. Realgar wine is a kind of liquor or yellow wine made by soaking realgar powder. As realgar can be used as an antidote and insecticide, people drink realgar wine to keep diseases away. People also make Zongzi (a rice dumpling made out of glutinous rice and wrapped in bamboo leaves to form a pyramid shape) during the festival.
Zhongyuan Festival (also known as the Ghost Festival), which falls on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month, is the day to pay respects to the deceased by offering sacrifices and burning joss paper.
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Reunion Festival and Mooncake Festival, is a traditional Chinese folk festival that falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month every year. At the festival, local families make fried duck as the main dish. In the evening, families get together to eat mooncakes and admire the moon.
Chong Yang Festival, also known as the Double Ninth Festival, falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month every year. On the day, people traditionally drink chrysanthemum wine, eat Double-Ninth Cakes and climb mountains.
Festivals of ethnic groups
Miao New Year: Miao people celebrate their own New Year’s Day. It falls on the second day of the tenth month of the lunar calendar. Each household prepares abundant provisions before Miao New Year, including pork, mutton, beef and glutinous rice cakes. Mayang County is known for its grand ceremonies at the festival, especially in the townships of Longjiabao, Jiangkouxiu, Guo Gongping, Lvxikou, Shiyangxiao, Daqiaogang, and Yanmen.
Dong New Year: Dong New Year is a traditional festival of the Dong people. It is celebrated at different times of year from one area to another. It was determined that the festival would be celebrated on the first day of the eleventh month of the Chinese lunar calenda at Guizhou Tong History Meeting in November 1984. Before Dong New Year, the Dong people are very busy preparing. They clean their houses, make rice cakes, and slaughter animals, and they also make sacrifices to their ancestors, while burning joss sticks and candles. During the festival, Dong people wear traditional costumes and invite their honored guests to a feast. They also send various kinds of food to their friends and relatives.
Eryue’er Festival is a traditional festival held on the second day of the second month of the lunar calendar. Dong people will hold a fair to celebrate the birthday of the land deity. They will pool money to buy incense, candles, wine and food and go to local land god temple to pay homage to the land deity.
Sanyuesan Festival: it is also known as the Song Festival. Every year on the third of the third lunar month, Dong people will gather together to celebrate the festival by holding various folk activities. Some of the most traditional customs and activities include “song meetings”. The Song Festival is a good opportunity for young people to engage romantically. Young men and women usually sing in antiphonal style (alternately singing to one another). If a man and a woman fall in love with each other, they will give a gift to each other.
Liuyueliu Festival: it falls on the sixth day of the sixth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. On this special day, ethnic people bring out their clothes, genealogical books, paintings and calligraphy. In some places, children and daughters-in-law who have not been registered on the genealogy are registered on this day.
Hehuahui Festival: in the 7th lunar month, parents pool their money to pray for their young children to bring blessings and ward off calamities.
Shiyuetou Festival: It falls on the first day of the 10th lunar month. On this day, Yao people pay tribute with glutinous rice cakes to the mythological protector King Gaopo. According to legend, King Gaopo rewarded the good and punish the wicked. Prior to hunting or fighting bandits, Yao people always asked for his blessings.
Panwang Festival: The festival, which falls on the 16th of the 10th lunar month, is celebrated by Yao ethnic group to pay tribute to their mythological ancestor Pan Hu (also Panwang or King Pan). According to legend, in the far ancient time, a group of Yao ethnic people traveled far away across the sea by boat, but unfortunately encountered a storm. The boat with people drifted on the sea and was about to destruct. At about that time, one of the Yao people prayed to their ancestor Panwang for their safety. After making the wish, the calm returned on the sea immediately. And the boat reached shore very soon, saving the Yao people. It was just on Panwang’s birthday, the 16th day of the 10th lunar month. So the rescued Yao people prepared banquet, singing and dancing, to celebrate their new life, as well as Panwang’s birthday. Yao people from Chenxi County and Xupu County hold grand worshipping ceremonies to mark Panwang.
(Translated by Yang Hong)