Pantheon of Chinese gods and heroesChina has a rich array of heroes, gods and goddesses to draw on. Temples are full of images of people from China's long history. Often an historical figure is over time upgraded and considered an immortal. Most depictions can be identified by the objects the deity is carrying. Some are associated with Buddhism others with Daoism and quite often no particular religion at all. Read more…
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st Mar Three days - three festivals
On the third day of the third lunar month the Shangsi festival (or Double Third) is held in China. In 2022 it falls on Sunday 3rd April. This is an ancient festival that has faded over the centuries. It goes back over 2,000 years and is believed to have been based on an annual ritual bathing in rivers. This cleared away the grime accumulated over winter and ritually cleared away evil to make a clean start to the year. In modern times some people go out by water and collect
There are several legends associated with the festival. It may mark the birthday of the founding
Yellow Emperor and the birthday of the important Daoist goddess The Queen Mother of the West. There is a traditional saying to celebrate the day Sān yuè sān Xuān Yuán shēng 'third month, third day, Huangdi born' ( 三 月 三轩辕 生 轩辕 is the personal name of the Yellow Emperor).
In 2018 there was a move to re-badge the festival as 'Chinese National Costume Day' where people of the many ethnic minorities of China are encouraged to wear their traditional costumes.
The following day is another rather obscure festival - Monday 4th April will be the ‘Cold Food Festival.’ In this case it is more straightforward to explain. The day was traditionally when the fires were put out that heated the house and cooked the food. The ashes were cleared out and everything cleaned. As there was no fire all the food was cold.
But the following day this year (this does not occur every year) is a much more important festival ‘
Qing Ming’ on Tuesday 5th April when people pay respect to their ancestors. It is associated with ritually cleaning the graves and graveyards and making offerings to the departed. It is also the time to sow and plant crops and so is anchored to the solar year rather than the lunar year; this makes it falls between April 4th and April 6th. It is a public holiday. Read full story…
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