The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Beginning of Spring or Start of Spring, the first solar term of the year, begins this year on Feb 4 and ends on Feb 18.
(Illustration: JIAN Shan; Beijing International Design Week)
Beginning of Spring refers to the time when the weather is becoming warmer and everything begins to grow and turn green. Chinese people celebrated the start of spring around Chinese New Year.
Did you know these facts about the Beginning of Spring?
People in China began holding a special ceremony on the first day of Beginning of Spring about 3,000 years ago. They made sacrifices to Gou Mang, the god of Spring, who is in charge of agriculture, praying for a good harvest. According to historical records, at first, the ceremony was mainly held by the Emperors and officials. By the Qing Dynasty, the activities of greeting the spring had become an important folk activity with all the people involved, according to chinaculture.org.
On the first day of Beginning of Spring, people in many parts of China observe the custom of "biting the spring" by eating fresh vegetables to welcome the Spring and prevent diseases. They eat spring pancakes or spring rolls stuffed with shepherd's purse, one of the earliest wild greens to appear in the spring.
(Photo: CCTV NEWS)
The custom of posting calligraphy and paintings on one's door on the first day of Beginning of Spring to welcome the Spring and pray for good luck first appeared in Tang Dynasty (618-907), according to China Daily.
Whipping Spring also called whipping a Spring ox during the Beginning of Spring was also popular in early days of China. According to historical records, skilled artisans would gather to make a Spring ox with the earth or paper and bamboo. Officials and residents then whipped the ox in turn. The more broken the ox was, the better. The ritual was also referred to as ‘da chun’ (spring begins), a ceremony to pray for good luck and harvest.
(Compiled by Chen Sihui)