Wu Yingqin: ‘Chinese New Year as well as the Russian one is a symbol of renewal and family reunion’

The consul general of China in Kazan about his country’s New Year traditions that are generally named Spring Festival

A big holiday was celebrated in China on 12 February — New Year. According to the Chinese calendar, it is the year of the Ox, and PRC citizens celebrated it on a large scale and with long holidays like in Russia. Officially, the country has a break from 11 to 17 February, while the festive celebrations last longer — 16 days — precisely until the Lantern Festival on 26 February. It is noteworthy that the New Year in China isn’t a winter holiday, it is called Spring Festival whose history is over 4,000 years old. In a column of Realnoe Vremya, Consul General of China in Kazan Wu Yingqin talks about Chinese New Year traditions.

Feel the charm of Chinese New Year

The Spring Festival is the most solemn traditional holiday of the Chinese nation. The Spring Festival, that’s to say, New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, lasts from the Spring Festival on the first day of the first month until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month according to the lunar calendar. 12 February 2021 is the first day of the first month of the lunar year.

According to the traditional lunar calendar, this year will be the year of the ox. The ox has a great meaning and symbolises diligence, hard work, firmness and inflexibility, openness of new roads and aspiration to move forward as well as work for the good of people. Chinese New Year as well as Russian New Year is a symbol of total renewal, family reunion and celebration of the new year together.

The Spring Festival, that’s to say, New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, lasts from the Spring Festival on the first day of the first month until the Lantern Festival. Photo: wikipedia.org

First keyword of Spring Festival: traditions

The Spring Festival has been a traditional holiday of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. It dates back to ancient times, sacrifice ceremonies and prayers for harvest in the new year. According to the Taichu calendar created during the rule of the Han dynasty, the tradition of the Spring Holiday has over 2,000 years of history.

Commemoration of ancestors, staying awake on the New Year night, the writing of the hieroglyph of “happiness”, attachment of a pair of red stripes with New Year wishes, dumpling making, a visit to the temple fair, solving riddles and other traditional customs have still survived reflecting the deep and multifaceted Chinese culture as well as describing the rich and diverse, public life and culture of the ancient Chinese people.

Thanks to the conservation and passing down traditions from generation to generation, the social importance of the Spring Festival is constantly enriched. We can say that the Spring Festival reflects the cultural beliefs of the Chinese people that have remained unchangeable for thousands of years, and we have the deepest cultural confidence in the future.

Commemoration of ancestors, staying awake on the New Year night, the writing of the hieroglyph of “happiness”, attachment of two red stripes with New Year wishes and other customs have survived until now. Photo: shcm.gov.cn

Second keyword of Spring Festival: union

The Spring Festival reflects the Chinese’s concept of the family. The main topic for talks among Chinese sons and daughters each time at the end and beginning of the year is that each of them must go home to celebrate New Year. Flights increase, high-speed trains run full steam, people travel day and night to go home and gather with the whole family.

On the New Year eve, the whole family gathers at the New Year table, watches the New Year gala concert, let off fireworks and firecrackers carrying the warmth and happiness of affinity. Such a cultural content as unity, peace, harmony and the other what the Spring Festival contains demonstrate the amazing traditional culture of China and the modern Chinese system of values, synchronises with heart voices of peoples from all countries of the world and delivers wonderful prospects of creating the Community of the united fate of humanity. “You miss your relatives a hundred times more on every bright holiday.”

This year, a lot of Chinese compatriots stayed abroad during the celebration of New Year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The general consulate sent Kits in Honour of Spring Festival to Chinese compatriots who stayed in the Volga Federal District on Chinese New Year so that they would feel the atmosphere of the Spring Festival and the warmth of the Homeland being in a strange land.

On the New Year eve, the whole family gathers at a New Year table, watches the New Year gala concert, let off fireworks and firecrackers. Photo: Suicup / wikipedia.org

Third keyword of Spring Festival: hopes

The Spring Festival shows active progress, symbolises the continuation of traditions of the past and opening of new roads for the future, expresses an aspiration for a better life, stimulates us to win great victories in the new year. The year 2021 is the year of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China and the beginning of the 14th Five-Year Plan, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping urges us “to serve people, lay new roads of development of the spirit of the pioneer, work hard like an ox and courageously move forward on the new way of all-round construction of the socialist modernised state”.

The signing of the Agreement on Good Neighbourly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation turns 20 years in 2021. Both countries will focus on this main line and work together facilitating new development of Chinese-Russian relations. The Chinese-Russian interregional cooperation will certainly blossom and be strong like an ox’s health. The practical cooperation of Tatarstan with China’s regions will undoubtedly achieve more new successes.

The golden ox welcomes spring. Like a traditional holiday of the Chinese nation, the Spring Festival becomes an important window more and a great stage to understand Chinese culture in the world. We hope that the “happy Chinese year” will bring everybody the atmosphere of joy and happiness. We invite more friends from Russia to celebrate the Spring Festival precisely in China in the future and feel that culturally important, traditional and charming festival in China first-hand.

By Wu Yingqin
Tatarstan