"Beginning of spring": Lichun Day and its story
www.chinaview.cn 2009-02-04 20:46:46   Print


    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 Winter Solstice.

    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 Spring'.

    Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from Beijing. (XHTV)




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)

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)
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    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.

    "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

Editor: Deng Shasha
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