Chinese traditional festivals that ESL teachers should know! (part2)


Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival is also called Duanwu or Tuen Ng in the west of China.  The festival occurs on the 5th of the 5th month of the Lunar year, which is May 30th in 2017. It’s also an official holiday in China. Dragon Boat Festival has more than 2,000 years history.


Today, most people believe that holding Dragon Boat Festival is commemorating the death of great poet Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan is not only a great poet but also an outstanding minister. Since Qu could not agree with the king’s decision and fail to persuade the king to change his decision, he got exiled. During his exile, Qu wrote a great deal of poetry, such as Li Sao, showing his care and devotion to his country. He is also one of the great poets in Chinese history. After his country had been invaded and conquered, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in Miluo River.  The date of his death is May 5th of Lunar year.


In Dragon Boat Festival, people eat zongzi, tie five-color silk thread and play dragon boat racing. In some parts of China, people wear han costume in Dragon Boat Festival. It will be a nice experience for ESL teachers if they can go some particular parts of China to experience the Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon Boat Racing is something that you must to see about the Dragon Boat Festival. You can go to the travel websites to search where you should go during the Dragon Boat Festival. There are also other legends about the Dragon Boat Festival. For more information, you can go to baidu to do a research.


Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival is the second of the grandest Chinese Traditional Festivals in China after Chinese New Year. The day is also known as Moon Festival, which is the 15th day of the Lunar August. It falls on October 4th this year.  Mid-Autumn Festival has been listed as an “intangible cultural heritage” in 2006.


There is a romantic legend about the Mid-Autumn Festival. According to Lihui Yang’s Handbook of Chinese Mythology, in the ancient time, there was a hero named Hou Yi, who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang E. One year, there were ten suns rising in the sky together, which caused great disaster to people. Yi tried to save people and shot nine of the suns. Then, there is only one sun left like today. “Hou Yi shot the sun” is a very famous legend in China. After Hou Yi shot the sun, an immortal admired him and gave him the elixir of immortality. Yi loved Change E very much and did not want to leave without her. Therefore, he let Change E keep the elixir. But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. He broke into Yi’s house and tried to force Chang E to hand out the elixir to him when Yi went to hunting one day. Change E did not give him the elixir. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. The day she flew into the sky is the 15th of Lunar August. Since she loved Hou Yi very much and wanted to be close by, she chose the moon to be her home. When Yi came back and learnt that, he felt so sad. He displayed the fruits and cakes Change E liked in the yard to give sacrifices to his wife, which is still kept in some parts of China today.  There are also other legends about the Mid-Autumn Festivals. If ESL teachers are interested, they can do a research online.


Mid-Autumn Festival is the 15th of Lunar August, which is full moon day according to the movement of the moon. In Mid-Autumn Festival, people eat Moon Cake and watch the moon. Moon cakes come in various flavors according to the region. The moon cakes are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.

Mid-Autumn Festival is also a festival to worship the moon. There are many poems about the Moon.


Carrying of brightly lit lanterns is also a notable part of celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival. In some parts of China, people will float sky lanterns called “kong ming deng”.  Many ESL teachers like to float sky lanterns in Mid-autumn Festival to make a good wish for their own life. There are riddles on some lanterns too, which is a pleasant game in Mid-Autumn Festival. I highly recommend ESL teachers to experience a traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in China this year, since it falls on the National Holidays that will eight official days holiday. For more travel information about the Mid-Autumn Festival, ESL teachers can do a research online.


Qingming Festival (Tomb-sweeping Festival)

Qingming Festival, which is also known as Tomb-sweeping Festival, falls on either April 4th or 5th on the Lunar April. It has one of Chinese 24 solar terms. From Qingming Festival, the temperatures begin to rise and rainfall increases. It’s a crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring.


Qingming Festival is also somewhat like Halloween in Western Countries, paying respect to the dead, which it’s called Tomb-sweeping in China. In Qingming Festival, most family members reunion and go to their family members’ tombs together to sweep the tombs to show their love to the dead.  For example, when it’s Qingming Festival, the family members of my mother and my father will come together to clean up the tomb. They also bring some flowers and food that the dead like to eat to the tomb.


Qingming Festival is also a time of many different activities, such as taking a spring outing and flying kites.  It’s a symbol that the spring is really coming.  ESL teachers should know that you couldn’t say “happy holiday” on the Qingming Festival.


Chinese Traditional Festivals are always attracted to many foreigners and ESL teachers who are working in China. It’s definitely a great experience to have a Chinese Traditional Festival in some traditional places in China.