A PEACEFUL YEAR OF THE PIG - 2007
Chief among the "six great festivals" in China is the Lunar New Year. This is the holiday that every man will lay aside his work for as long as he can afford leisure. Instead of his usual frugality, this is a time of feasting! Amusement and happiness, like a bright red thread, colors the normal pattern of daily lives. It's a time to start a clean sheet of happiness and greater success.
Mantis Celebrations always take place on Heping (Peace) Street in Pingshan Town!
In Pingshan Town, folks began returning to their ancestral homes in near and far Provinces early February, although, the New Year celebrations didn't begin until February 17. Heading to the bus, train and airlines, folks carrying bags twice their size, headed 'en masse' back to their spawning grounds! (There were about five hundred thousand folks crossing the border per day from China to Hong Kong)
Flowers placed at the door of every home represent wealth and longevity and vendors line the streets
Two weeks of preparation lead up to the new year and on midnight eve of the dying year, all family members under one roof present New Year's wishes to one another and kowtow before the master and mistress of the house (in the old days)!
A typical "old style" modern home in Guangdong villages today!
At three in the morn, the house gates are opened (being previously sealed the night before to keep out 72 evil influences) to bring new fortune and someone utters "bring us riches".
At five in the morn on New Year's eve, the three rites are performed in the courtyard to Heaven and Earth, the clan ancestors and the household spirits.
The first day of the first month of the new year (and the first and fifteenth of each month afterward), thanks is given to the spirit tablet of Heaven and Earth which says, "Spiritual Seat of the True Lord of Heaven and Earth ruling over the Three Regions (Heaven, Earth and Water), the Points of Direction (Bagua, up and down), and the souls of all living creatures. (old tradition)
Ceremonies then move to the 'Five Generations Ancestral Hall' where blessings are given and asked from all who came before. Their spirits quickly descend into the clan house and remain for the next two weeks of the New Year. Daily offerings are given with five kinds of food, five cups of wine, five cups of tea, 10 pairs of chopsticks and a calendar so the spirits can know to follow the new year's holidays!
The streets are literally littered with spirits of every kind;
door, kitchen, wealth, hell, heaven and every thing between!
On the first day of the New Year the proverb says, "every family apart" and folks usually stay home with their kith or kin. The second day sees the "ceremony of opening the well". On the third day, the spirit of wealth is renewed.
Afterwards, people begin to go out to the streets again and only the oldtimers remain indoors until the fifth day when it is said that "the New Year is broken".
On the fifteenth of the first month, the celebrations are officially brought to an end by the Lantern festival or "Feast of the first full moon". Its pure enjoyment!
Three Doors Down! Every door gets a new year's couplet!
"Under the Heavens, there is no unending feast" is the proverb, and so, the full moon festival over, folks get back to their routines. One could see this around the 24th in Pingshan Town this year when the streets were once again lined with folks and their bags returning from the bus, train and air stations. Many of the old customs have long since been discarded but one proverb says it all, "On the first moon, no one has an empty mouth. When eating one's own, he must not eat to fullness, but when eating with others he stuffs till the tears run!"
Ching An - Have a peaceful 2007 Year of the Pig! Roger D. Hagood
2010 is the Year of the Tiger - Click Here!
Back | Top | Next