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Major Chinese Festivals

Compiled by Cecil Lee, Copyright (C), Geomancy.net, January 2000

Chinese history is over 5,000 years old. This page is specially created for Overseas Chinese and anyone interested in understanding the roots. Dates are also provided for major Chinese festivals (see below).

 

Lunar Date

Name of Festival

Description

Last day of the 12th month

Eve of Chinese New Year

Keeping brooms out of sight. To prevent what one wishes for in the new year being swept away.

Chinese family gather together to have their `reunion' dinner in the evening. All family members (including daughter-in-law) have a feast together.

1st Month, 1st Day

Chinese Lunar New Year

Chinese celebrate the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Traditionally (in the past) the picture of the two door gods are pasted on doors:-

.

General Qin Shu Bao and General Yuchi Jingde of the early Tang Dynasty. Both Generals hold golden axes in their hands and held a sword, bow and arrows on their waist. Some people instead prefer to write their names on the doors instead of hanging their pictures.

Make offerings (food) and offer incense to ancestors.

Traditionally Fire crackers were let off to drive away evil and illnesses.

Chinese couples and their children would visit relatives especially their parents and elders and present them with two mandarin oranges and a `Red packet' or Ang Pow.

1st Month, 2nd Day

2nd Day of Chinese New Year

The daughter-in-law returns to her home to renew ties with her parents, brothers and sisters.

1st Month, 3rd Day

3rd Day of Chinese New Year

Faithful dog day. This day, some Chinese are superstitious and will stay at home to relax and do not visit relatives.

1st Month, 4th Day

4th Day of Chinese New Year

Only after 12.00pm, burning pictures of deities, gods and their bodyguards in the hope that they receive the invitation to visit earth.

1st Month, 5th Day

5th Day of Chinese New Year

The day to bring out rubbish to throw away.

The day to remove offerings to the deities and gods.

For businesses, offerings to the gods and hang a red cloth over the shop front.

1st Month, 8th Day

8th Day of Chinese New Year

Day of the Heavenly stars or God of Stars.

At night, place an altar outdoors and make offering to the stars.

1st Month, 9th Day

9th Day of Chinese New Year

Birthday of the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor was considered a supreme deity who had created Heaven and Earth.

He lived in the Jade Capital Mount and thus was known as the Jade Emperor. He is also known as Ti Kong or Heaven God.

On this day, some Chinese offer incense and pay their respects to him.

1st Month, 15th Day

Last day of Chinese New Year.

 

This is the last day of Chinese New Year.

In Northern China, originated from the reign of Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty; a pair of lanterns are hung outside the home. Fire crackers were allow let off.

2nd Month, 15th Day.

Cold Food Festival

This practice started during the Zhou Dynasty.

On this day, food is prepared without using a stove (fire).

2nd Month, 16th Day. Starts from Yin time of between 3 to 5 am.

Qing Ming Festival

This practice started during the Han Dynasty as this is spring where it is clear weather. This became an official festival from the Tang Dynasty onwards.

This is the day of remembering the dead. Family members go to the cemetery sometimes for three consecutive days to pay respects to the dead.

Weeds are removed from the ancestor's tomb and swept. Paper gold or hell notes etc.. are burned and offered to the dead. Food is offered especially whole roasted pig and colored cakes.

5th Month, 5th Day

Dragon Boat Festival

The 5th Day of the 5th month is considered the most dangerous day.

5th month is the dragon month where one has to take extra precaution against sickness and diseases.

The purpose of the Dragon Boat Festival is to ward off evil and to commemorate the start of summer.

7th Month, 7th Day or Double 7

The Seven Month

 

Since ancient times, the Chinese belief that during the 7th month, the gates of hell is opened and hungry ghosts are allowed to wander on earth.

This is considered a dangerous month to go out.

Chinese avoid getting married, moving house, buying a car and organizing any other events during the 7th month. For 2000, this is from 31st July to 28 August 2000.

8th Month, 15th Day

The Mid-Autumn Festival

In ancient China which was an agricultural society, this day is the day to celebrate the brightest moon and praying to the Goddess of the Moon.

9th Month, 9th Day or Double 9

Chong Yang Festival or Climbing the heights.

This is another day set aside to visit the grave of an ancestor.

Alternatively, families gather at high points e.g. hill sites for picnics. The requirements are to bring along chrysanthemum drink and a cake. The hope that when one eats the cake, it will mean advancement for him/her.

11th Month, 11 Day

The Winter Festival

This day falls on first day of winter solstice.

This date is of similar significance to the Chinese New Year. Family member gather to have a feast together during this day.

12 Month, 26 Day

Winter Solstice Festival

This is the to celebrate the end of winter solstice.

In Chinese astrology, this is the start of a new year especially for farmers. Similar to Thanksgiving.

This is a day of festivities and some businesses would close for the day and incense offered to the gods. The atmosphere is like that of a New Year.

 

 

Minor Chinese Festivals

Compiled by Cecil Lee, Copyright (C), Geomancy.net, January 2000

Chinese history is over 5,000 years old. This page is specially created for Overseas Chinese and anyone interested in understanding the roots. Dates are also provided for major Chinese festivals (see below).

 

1st Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Prayers and offerings to ancestors and the Heaven.

2nd Day

Birthday of Ji Gong. An immortal who is said to bring wealth and good luck.

3rd Day

Taoist celebrate the birthday of the Sun deity and of our sun.

4th Day

Prayers to the deity of the guardian of women.

7th Day

This day was said to be the day human beings were created by Pan Gu, an ancestor of the ancient Chinese.

8th Day

Birthday of Cereal Emperor who grants longevity.

9th Day

Birthday of Jade Emperor or Heaven God (Tian Gong). The supreme deity.

10th Day

Earth God or Di Gong Festival.

13th Day

Birthday of God of Wealth.

15th Day

The Lantern Festival and the end of Chinese New Year. Birthday of the Heaven Emperor: Ziwei. The Emperor grants blessings. This day is known as the Superior principles day commemorating Heaven, Earth and Water.

16th Day

Shui Jing Festival for farmers.

19th Day

Celebration for the two Door Gods to ensure protection for family and success for the coming year.

Feast of Qui Chuji is to commemorate Qiu who was considered the father of jade by craftsmen in the jade trade in China.

20th Day

Birthday of Shen Tai the distributor of wealth. He was a devoted disciple of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin)

26th Day

Festival of God of Money

 

2nd Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Festival of the Sun. On this day, the sun visits the Jade Emperor to discuss the coming year.

Birthday of Star God.

2nd Day

Birthday of local Earth God who is worshipped at home. 

Birthday of famous Confucian philosopher Mencius.

3rd Day

Birthday of Literature God who was recognized as a god in the Shang Dynasty.

6th Day

Birthday of the Eastern Mountain God. He reigns over Mount Tai. Temples known as Eastern Mountain Temples or Heaven Equaling Temple were set up to honor him.

8th Day

Birthday of the Ruler of the Third Court of Hell. This hell is meant for unfilial sons and ministers.

10th Day

Birthday of earth spirits related to agriculture. Celebrated by farmers.

13th Day

Birthday of God of Fishermen and the sea (known as Hong Sheng). Celebrated by fisherman who hold operas and feasts.

15th Day

Birthday of Lao Tzi, the revered founder of Taoism.

18th Day

Birthday of the Ruler of the Fourth Court of Hell. This hell is meant for swindlers and cheats.

19th Day

Birthday of Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin).

20th Day

Birthday of Bodhisattva Buddha (Tu Sha).

25th Day

Celebration of everyone in the Palace of Heaven.

 

3rd Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Birthday of the Ruler of the Second Court of Hell. This hell is meant for the condemned.

3rd Day

Birthday of the great Taoist deity Demon-Exorcizing Heavenly Judge: Xuan Wu. His duty was to determine the life-span of each person. 

Birthday of the Guardian of the North.

4th Day

Birthday of the secretary to the Jade Emperor.

6th Day

Birthday of Zhang Lao. Day for remembering the elderly.

8th Day

Birthday of the Ruler of the Sixth Court of Hell. This hell is meant for go against Heaven, earth or the Northern star).

10th Day

Birthday of one of the gods of the Five Directions. (N, S, E, W & center)

12th Day

Birthday of the Five Spirits for Fate and Destiny.

15th Day

Birthday of God of Medicine.

16th Day

Birthday of Lightning Goddess or Lightning Mother. 

18th Day

Birthday of the god of Central Mountain or Middle Mount Song.

19th Day

Birthday of the Sun.

23rd Day

Birthday of the Heavenly Queen: Ma Zhu. People often relate seeing a lady in red flying above the sea to rescue those who are in danger of drowning. The Heavenly Palace in Beigang, Taiwan is dedicated to her. On this day, many followers worship her.

27th Day

Birthday of Immortal General Ji.

28th Day

Birthday of the legendary emperor who invented writing.

 

5th Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Birthday of the Star of Longevity or Shou. A fictional figure associated with respect for the elderly and aged. He appears together with the two deities Fu (Luck) and Lu (Prosperity).

5th Day

Day of sacrifice to the Earth.

8th Day

Birthday of the Mother of Sea Dragon. She associated with protecting children from disasters and those at sea.

10th Day

Birthday of one of the gods of the Five Directions.

12th Day

Birthday of the son of Tai San (Mountain God). 

13th Day

Birthday of the City God. Associated with protecting the city from flooding of canals surrounding the city

Birthday of the son of God of War (Guan Ti). Revered by students of martial arts. Martial arts displays and feasting is done on this day.

16th Day

Festival of the union of Heaven and Earth and the creation of the universe.

Birthday of Buddha, when he assumed human form on earth.

18th Day

Birthday of Royal Mother. The head goddess of all the immortals. Associated with long life.

 

6th Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Birthday of the Guardian Buddha of the Song Dynasty. He has a red face, a beard and protruding teeth. He guarded the Heavenly Jade Palace. He is associated with protecting the common people.

6th Day

Birthday of Tai San (Mountain God).

10th Day

Birthday of Liu Haichan. One of the Eight Immortals. His original name was Liu Cao. 

12th Day

Birthday of wells and streams.

13th Day

Birthday of Master Lu Ban, the Skilled deity. Offerings to him whenever a new foundation for a new building begins.

19th Day

Second birthday of Guan Yin. This date is to commemorate the conferring of Bodhisattva on her due to her earlier postponement to save human suffering.

23rd Day

Birthday of the King of Horses.

24th Day

Birthday of the God of War (Guan Ti).

Birthday of the Fire God.

26th Day

Birthday of Er Lang. The second son of an Indian king. He was a military (fighting) god who was the only person who could subdue the Monkey god when on one in Heaven could. He holds a magic pagoda in his hand. 

29th Day

Birthday of the deity of the Great Bear star constellation.

 

7th Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Birthday of Tai Shang Lao Jun. His figurine can be found in most Taoist temples. He is a distinguished thinker. He is revered as he is considered one of the most supreme sage and is popularly worshipped till this day. 

7th Day

Double 7 is considered the most dangerous day of the year. The day when the gates of hell are opened for ghosts to roam the earth. Weddings, moving house and (external) outings are avoided.

12th Day

Birthday of Taoist Immortal Changchun. Also known as Qiu Chuji. He was the founder of the Longmen Taoist Martial Arts School during the Yuan Dynasty.

15th Day

Celebration and Festival of the three Taoist principles.

18th Day

Birthday of Wang Mu Niang Niang or Queen Mother of Heaven.

19th Day

Festival of the guardian deity in-charge for the year. The guardian is in-charge of both life and death for the year.

20th Day

Birthday of the guardian of Palace of Kings. He helps the poor or the needy to seek an audience with the King.

22nd Day

Birthday of the God of Fortune.

24th Day

Birthday of the God of the local city. (Less important than the Birthday of the God of the City on the 13th Day of the 5th Month.

29th Day

Birthday of the King of the Dark World. He is the person who opened the gate of hell on the first day of the 7th month. People would pray to him if they suffered from illness during the 7th month. 

Birthday of the Savior of the Dead. His picture is burned during funerals to help ease the passage of death for those sent to `hell'.

 

8th Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Birthday of the god of Dragon Slayer.

Birthday of the god of Golden Armour.

2nd Day

Birthday of the Village God. A lesser ranking god than the City God.

3rd Day

Birthday of the Kitchen God. He would report to the Jade Emperor on the 24th of the 12th Lunar month. 

5th Day

Birthday of the Thunder God. He is the god in charge of thunder and upheld justice.

10th Day

Birthday of the Emperor of North Mountain. He reigns at the North Mount Heng.

12th Day

Birthday of the Five Spirits for Fate and Destiny.

15th Day

Birthday of the moon. On this day the moon is at the brightest in the Northern hemisphere.

16th Day

Birthday of the Monkey God. His exploits are featured in the novel, Journey to the West.

22nd Day

Birthday of the recarnate of Guatama Buddha.

24th Day

Birthday of the God of Wealth and Pleasure.

25th Day

Birthday of the Sun. 

 

9th Lunar Month

Occasion

9th Day

Birthday of the Heavenly Queen of the Dipper constellation.

Festival to commemorate the God of War becoming an immortal.

15th Day

Birthday of Great Chu.

17th Day

Birthday of one of four Dragon Kings. (North, South, East and West).

18th Day

Birthday of the Sage of Writing.

19th Day

Celebration of Goddess of Mercy becoming a Bodhisattva.

29th Day

Birthday of the Protector of Fire.

 

10th Lunar Month

Occasion

1st Day

Festival of remembrance of the dead. Birthday of the King of the East or Mu Gong. His wife, rules the West. Both of them are revered Taoist deities.

2nd Day

Birthday of Wise Immortal Cao.

5th Day

Birthday of Bodhidharma. The founder of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

6th Day

Birthday of one of the Emperors of the Five Mountains.

10th Day

Birthday of the deity of smallpox.

15th Day

Birthday of the Three Principles.

16th Day

Birthday of the deity of Marriage.

20th Day

Birthday of one of the gods of the Five Directions.

27th Day

Festival of the North Pole Star.

 

11th Lunar Month

Occasion

5th Day

Festival of Confucius.

6th Day

Birthday of the Emperor of the Western Mountain.

Celebration of the Jade Emperor as the Supreme leader.

11th Day

Birthday of Bodhisattva who relieves suffering.

17th Day

Birthday of the great Buddha. It is a time of repentance.

19th Day

Festival of the Nine Lotus Leaves controlled by the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin. 

23rd Day

Birthday of Zhang Guo or Zhang Guo Lao. One of the Eight Immortals who lived in the Tang Dynasty. His picture is often placed above the bed of newly married couples.