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Difference between Spring Festival and Christmas  

2006-12-27 02:05:51|  分类: 关于教学 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Difference between Spring Festival and Christmas

Spring Festival and Christmas are both the most important festivals for the Chinese people and western people. Because of the different culture, there are different ways to celebrate. What is the difference? So I chose this topic to study, and gave this report.

Time.

The Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, often one month later than the Gregorian calendar. Strictly speaking, the Spring Festival starts every year in the early days of the 12th lunar month and will last till the mid 1st lunar month of the next year. Of them, the most important days are Spring Festival Eve and the first three days. The Chinese government now stipulates people have seven days off for the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Spring Festival then comes to an end when the Lantern Festival is finished

Christmas Day is on December 25. People usually have two weeks for this holiday, beginning shortly before Christmas and ending soon after New Year’s.

History.

Spring Festival originated in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-c. 1100 BC) from the people's sacrifice to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.

Although no one knows exactly when Jesus was born. Christians throughout the world celebrate His birthday on December 25. This date was selected in the fourth century so that Christmas would replace the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Ancient peoples believed that daylight hours began to lengthen when the sun god started his journey back to earth. They celebrated the beginning of his journey on December 25.

Home decorating.

In China, before the New Year comes, people completely clean the indoors and outdoors of their homes as well as their clothes, bedclothes and all their utensils.Then people begin decorating their clean rooms featuring an atmosphere of rejoicing and festivity. All the door panels will be pasted with Spring Festival couplets, highlighting Chinese calligraphy with black characters on red paper. The content varies from house owners' wishes for a bright future to good luck for the New Year. Also, pictures of the god of doors and wealth will be posted on front doors to ward off evil spirits and welcome peace and abundance. The Chinese character "fu" (meaning blessing or happiness) is a must. The character put on paper can be pasted normally or upside down, for in Chinese the "reversed fu" is homophonic with "fu comes", both being pronounced as "fudaole." What's more, two big red lanterns can be raised on both sides of the front door. Red paper-cuttings can be seen on window glass and brightly colored New Year paintings with auspicious meanings may be put on the wall.

Western people decorate their home with evergreens. The winter custom of decorating homes and churches with evergreens began in ancient times. Branches of fir or spruce were thought to bring good luck and guarantee the return of spring. The early Germans believed, for example, that in winter evil spirits killed the plants and trees and caused green leaves and flowers to disappear. They felt that bringing evergreens into their homes would protect them from the spirit of death. Germans of the sixteenth century probably originated the custom of decorating trees. In the nineteenth century, the idea spread throughout Europe and the United states. Now, at Christmas time decorated trees stand in about two-thirds of American homes. The modern American tree is usually covered with colored balls and strings of colored lights. The star on top represents the star in the east which guided the three Wise Men to Bethlehem. In ancient times, a branch of mistletoe was hung over doorways for good luck. Today the custom continues, but now it is for fun. A man may kiss any girl he catches standing under the mistletoe. The poinsettia plant is another familiar Christmas decoration. Its star-shaped red leaves are an ideal symbol of the holiday. This plant is native to Central America and Mexico. In the nineteenth century it was adapted to cultivation in the United States by Dr. Poinsett of South Carolina. It is a distinctly modern and American Christmas tradition.

Celebrating.

In China, All people living away from home go back, becoming the busiest time for transportation systems of about half a month from the Spring Festival. Airports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations are crowded with home returnees. People attach great importance to Spring Festival Eve. At that time, all family members eat dinner together. After the dinner, the whole family will sit together, chatting and watching TV. In recent years, the Spring Festival party broadcast on China Central Television Station (CCTV) is essential entertainment for the Chinese both at home and abroad. According to custom, each family will stay up to see the New Year in. The first five days after the Spring Festival are a good time for relatives, friends, and classmates as well as colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and chat leisurely.

In western, many families go away for the holidays, perhaps to ski in Colorado or to swim and sunbathe in Florida. Those who stay home have fun, too. There are numerous parties to celebrate the festival. Although Americans enjoy the commercial gaiety of Christmas, the most beautiful and meaningful aspects of the holiday occur at home and in church. Many families go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. After services, they gather around the tree and open their gifts. Then they sit down to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner.

Festival food.

In China, on the spring festival eve, the meal is more luxurious than usual. Dishes such as chicken, fish and bean curd cannot be excluded, for in Chinese, their pronunciations, respectively "ji", "yu" and "doufu," mean auspiciousness, abundance and richness. People in northern China will eat jiaozi, or dumplings, for breakfast, as they think "jiaozi" in sound means "bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new". Also, the shape of the dumpling is like gold ingot from ancient China. So people eat them and wish for money and treasure. Southern Chinese eat niangao (New Year cake made of glutinous rice flour) on this occasion, because as a homophone, niangao means "higher and higher, one year after another."

Christmas food is special: peppermint-flavored red and white striped canes of sugar, bright colored hard sweets, chocolate bonbons, creamy homemade fudge and clusters of chocolate-covered raisins, walnuts or pecans, etc.. As for Christmas dinner, traditionally have turkey or ham, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, there is usually fruit cake, plum pudding, or mince pie. The pudding is dark brown, rich and fruity, sometimes with a few silver coins hidden in it. The pies are small and round, containing a mixture of dried fruits and suet.

Gifts.

Waking up on New Year, everybody dresses up. First they extend greetings to their parents. Then each child will get money as a New Year gift, wrapped up in red paper.

The first Christmas gifts were those that the three Wise Men brought to the infant Jesus. The custom of giving gifts to family members and close friends is extremely popular in the United States today. Both child and adults get Christmas presents, although children usually get many more. As in Great Britain, American children hang stockings by the fireplace, hoping that Santa will fill them with candy and toys.

Special customs.

Burning fireworks was once the most typical custom on the Spring Festival. People thought the spluttering sound could help drive away evil spirits. The lively atmosphere not only fills every household, but permeates to streets and lanes. A series of activities such as lion dancing, dragon lantern dancing, lantern festivals and temple fairs will be held for days.

The American version of Santa Claus, a fat, jolly man wearing a red suit, red hat, and long white beard, as a person who brings gifts and goodwill at Christmas time has also become popular in Canada, England, and Australia.
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