BEIJING Feb. 4 -- Lichun day is a formal
declaration to mark the start of Spring.
Astronomers say it is not only a division of the
solar year in the traditional Chinese calendar, but also a time for festivities.
On that day, Chinese will eat spring pancakes and watch folk shows based on
tales about the spring.
ZHAO Zhiheng, director of Academy of Astronomy in
Tianjin, says Lichun is also named "Dachun", or "Striking Spring". It begins on
the sixth nine-day period in a group of nine nine-day periods following the
In China, the folk tradition of sacrificing oxes on
Lichun Day dates back to the Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago. The ritual did not
actually include the slaughter of oxes, but used clay sculptures. On the eve of
the Lichun, a tall and strong young man will play the role of “Mangshen, the God
of the east, God of the spring and God of the grass and trees. He will beat the
clay ox with a willow twig, surrounded by dancing groups of young men and women.
The ox sculpture was later replaced with a painting
of an ox on yellow paper, and hung in homes to greet the Spring. Yellow paper
was chosen because it represents the land, while the ox symbolizes farm work.
The painting is called “spring ox”, and is also used as a calendar to mark the
days for farm work.
On Lichun in north China, people traditionally eat
radishes to help digestion and prevent illnesses. They call it 'biting the
Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from Beijing. (XHTV) BEIJING, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese moms and grandmas were faced with a day of sweat and toil on Wednesday when the country waved goodbye to winter and ushered in spring with traditional meals and other celebrations.
Chinese celebrate "beginning of spring" with pancakes, passion
A family eat spring pancakes at a restaurant in Beijing, capital of China, on Feb. 4, 2009, the Spring Begins, first of the 24 solar terms in China's lunar calendar. People in north China have the tradition to eat spring pancakes on the day. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaogen)
"Lichun" -- literally, the "beginning of the spring" -- the first day of the first of the 24 divisions of the solar year according to the traditional Chinese calendar.Full story