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What are the well-known Chinese festivals?
Spring Festival  

The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the beginning of spring. The Spring Festival is the most important festival for the Chi¬nese people. All people living away from home are expected to go back, so it is becoming the busiest time for transportation systems of about half a month. Airports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations are crowded with home returnees.


New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. At New Year's Eve, a big dinner is served. The family end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes.


Lantern Festival  

The first month of the Chinese calendar is called yuan month and in ancient times people called the night xiao. The fifteenth day is the first night to see a full moon, therefore the day is called Yuan Xiao Festival (Lantern Festival) in China.


According to Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve puzzles on lanterns, eat yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball) and enjoy a family reunion.


Yuanxiao is made of glutinous rice flour, filled with red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar, sesa¬me paste (ground black sesame seeds mixed with lard), rock sugar (which would create a hot, melting caramel-like filling), etc.


Qingming Festival  

The Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox, usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Its name denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and tend to the graves of departed ones.


The concept of filial piety or obedience to one's elderly or ancestors is a very important concept in the Chinese culture. Traditionally, the Chinese believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family even when they are gone. Hence, offering food and spirit money could keep them happy in the spiritual world, and in turn, the living family will continue to prosper through good harvests from the ancestor's blessing.


Duanwu Festival  

Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional and statutory holiday associated with Chinese and other East Asian and Southeast Asian societies as well. The festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. The focus of the celebrations includes eating the rice dumpling Zongzi, drinking realgar wine Xionghuangjiu, and racing dragon boats.


The traditional food for the Dragon Boat Festival, Zongzi is a glutinous rice ball, with a filling, wrapped in corn leaves. The fillings can be egg, beans, sweet potato, walnuts, mushrooms, meat, or a combination of them. They are generally steamed.


Mid-Autumn Festival  

The Zhongqiu Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese people. It is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. This festival is also known as the Moon Cake Festival because a special kind of sweet cake (moon cake) prepared in the shape of the moon.


For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert.

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