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Qixi Festival

festoon is placed during Qixi Festival

Qixi Festival or Chinese Valentine's Day is on 7th day of 7th lunar month, usually in August or September. According to legend, a heavenly fairy Zhinu (织女) fell in love with a mortal farm boy Niulang (牛郎). This was forbidden; as punishment, they were only allowed to meet once a year on this day. There are usually parades and carnivals in the city celebrating the holiday. This is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day, but it is steadily losing its appeal among the locals; many have adopted the Western Valentine’s Day on February 14th.

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The Ghost Festival

Ghost Festival in Guangzhou

In Chinese tradition, the Ghost Festival is celebrated during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. It also falls at the same time as a full moon. During this month, the gates of hell are opened up and ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment. These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who forgot to pay tribute to them after they died, or those who were never given a proper ritual send-off. They have long needle-thin necks because they have not been fed by their family, or as a punishment so that they are unable to swallow. Family members offer prayers to their deceased relatives, offer food and drink and burn hell bank notes and other forms of joss paper. Joss paper items are believed to have value in the afterlife,considered to be very similar in some aspects to the material world, People burn paper houses, cars, servants and televisions to please the ghosts. Families also pay tribute to other unknown wandering ghosts so that these homeless souls do not intrude on their lives and bring misfortune. A large feast is held for the ghosts on the fourteenth day of the seventh month, when people bring samples of food and places them on an offering table to please the ghosts and ward off bad luck.

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Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival in Guangzhou

Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, usually in September or October. It is one of the three lantern festivals in China. In old times, lanterns were placed on the river to float during the Festival. Mid-Autumn lanterns are popular mainly in south China. One of the more interesting Mid-Autumn Festival customs in Guangzhou is hanging up lanterns. There are various kinds of festival lanterns, including sesame lanterns, eggshell lanterns, rice straw lanterns, fish scale lanterns and husk lanterns. In addition to the paper lanterns which are made for children, there are many other simple lanterns, such as pumpkin lanterns and orange lanterns.

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Chong Yang Festival

Guangzhou Double Ninth Festival

Chong Yang Festival / Double Ninth Festival (重阳节) is on the 9th day of 9th lunar month, usually in October. The festival began as early as the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). According to the yin/yang dichotomy that forms a basis to the Chinese world view, yin represents the elements of darkness and yang represents life and brightness. The number nine is regarded as yang. The ninth day of the ninth month is a double yang day, hence the name "Chong Yang Festival". (Chong means "repeat" in Chinese.) The ninth month also heralds the approach of winter.

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Winter Solstice Festival

Winter Solstice Festival

As early as 2,500 years ago, about the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), China had determined the point of Winter Solstice by observing movements of the sun with a sundial. It is the earliest of the 24 seasonal division points. The time will be each December 21 or 22 according to the Gregorian calendar. The Northern hemisphere on this day experiences the shortest daytime and longest nighttime. After the Winter Solstice, days will become longer and longer. As ancient Chinese thought, the yang, or muscular, positive things will become stronger and stronger after this day, so it should be celebrated.

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