The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated notably by the Chinese and Vietnamese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night, corresponding to late September to early October of the Gregorian calendar with a full moon at night. Mooncakes, a rich pastry filled with sweet bean paste or lotus seed paste are traditionally eaten during the festival; the Mid-Autumn Festival is known by other names, such as: Moon Festival or Harvest Moon Festival, because of the celebration's association with the full moon on this night, as well as the traditions of moon worship and moon gazing. Jūng-chāu Jit, official name in Cantonese. Tết Trung Thu, official name in Vietnamese. Zhōngqiū Jié, the official name in Mandarin. Lantern Festival, a term sometimes used in Singapore and Indonesia, not to be confused with the Lantern Festival in China that occurs on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. Reunion Festival, in earlier times, a woman in China took this occasion to visit her parents before returning to celebrate with her husband and his parents.
Children's Festival, in Vietnam, because of the emphasis on the celebration of children. The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts that are connected: Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It's said the moon is roundest on this day which means family reunion; this is the main reason why the festival is thought to be important. Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions Praying, such as for babies, a spouse, longevity, or for a good futureTraditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to changes in technology, economy and religion. It's about well being together; the Chinese have celebrated the harvest during the autumn full moon since the Shang dynasty. For the Baiyue peoples, the harvest time commemorated the dragon; the celebration as a festival only started to gain popularity during the early Tang dynasty. One legend explains that Emperor Xuanzong of Tang started to hold formal celebrations in his palace after having explored the Moon-Palace.
The term mid-autumn first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou dynasty. Empress Dowager Cixi enjoyed celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival so much that she would spend the period between the thirteenth and seventeenth day of the eighth month staging elaborate rituals. An important part of the festival celebration is moon worship; the ancient Chinese believed in rejuvenation being associated with the moon and water, connected this concept to the menstruation of women, calling it "monthly water". The Zhuang people, for example, have an ancient fable saying the sun and moon are a couple and the stars are their children, when the moon is pregnant, it becomes round, becomes crescent after giving birth to a child; these beliefs made it popular among women to give offerings to the moon on this evening. In some areas of China, there are still customs in which "men do not worship the moon and the women do not offer sacrifices to the kitchen gods."Offerings are made to a more well-known lunar deity, Chang'e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality.
The myths associated with Chang'e explain the origin of moon worship during this day. One version of the story is as follows, as described in Lihui Yang's Handbook of Chinese Mythology: In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi, excellent at archery, his wife was Chang'e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together. Yi left only one to provide light. An immortal sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang'e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang'e keep the elixir, but Pang Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi's house and forced Chang'e to give the elixir to him. Chang'e refused to do so. Instead, she flew into the sky. Since she loved much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence; when Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang'e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife.
People soon learned about these activities, since they were sympathetic to Chang'e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi. Handbook of Chinese Mythology describes an alternate common version of the myth: After the hero Houyi shot down nine of the ten suns, he was pronounced king by the thankful people. However, he soon became a tyrannical ruler. In order to live long without death, he asked for the elixir from Xiwangmu, but his wife, Chang'e, stole it on the fifteenth of August because she did not want the cruel king to live long and hurt more people. She took the magic potion to prevent her husband from becoming immortal. Houyi was so angry when discovered that Chang'e took the elixir, he shot at his wife as she flew toward the moon, though he missed. Chang' e became the spirit of the moon. Houyi died. Thereafter, people offer a sacrifice to Chang'e on every lunar fifteenth of August to commemorate Chang'e's action; the festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon.
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Chinese gods and immortals
Chinese traditional religion is polytheistic. The gods are energies or principles revealing and propagating the way of Heaven, the supreme godhead manifesting in the northern culmen of the starry vault of the skies and its order. Many gods are men who became deities for their heavenly achievements. Ancestors are regarded as the equivalent of Heaven within human society, therefore as the means connecting back to Heaven, the "utmost ancestral father". Gods are innumerable, as every phenomenon has or is one or more gods, they are organised in a complex celestial hierarchy. Besides the traditional worship of these entities, Confucianism and formal thinkers in general give theological interpretations affirming a monistic essence of divinity. "Polytheism" and "monotheism" are categories derived from Western religion and do not fit Chinese religion, which has never conceived the two things as opposites. Since all gods are considered manifestations of 氣 qì, the "power" or pneuma of Heaven, some scholars have employed the term "polypneumatism" or "pneumatolatry", first coined by Walter Medhurst, to describe the practice of Chinese polytheism.
In the theology of the classic texts and Confucianism, "Heaven is the lord of the hundreds of deities". Modern Confucian theology compares them to intelligences, substantial forms or entelechies as explained by Leibniz, generating all types of beings, so that "even mountains and rivers are worshipped as something capable of enjoying sacrificial offerings"; the deification of historical persons and ancestors is not traditionally the duty of Confucians or Taoists, but depends on the choices of common people. Yet and Taoists traditionally may demand that state honour be granted to a particular deity; each deity has a cult centre and ancestral temple where he or she, or the parents, lived their mortal life. There are disputes over, the original place and source temple of the cult of a deity. In Chinese language there is a terminological distinction between 帝 dì and 仙 xiān. Although the usage of the former two is sometimes blurred, it corresponds to the distinction in Western cultures between "god" and "deity", Latin genius and deus or divus.
It is etymologically and figuratively analogous to the concept of di as the base of a fruit, which falls and produces other fruits. This analogy is attested in the Shuowen Jiezi explaining "deity" as "what faces the base of a melon fruit"; the latter term 仙 xiān unambiguously means a man who has reached immortality to the Western idea of "hero". Chinese traditional theology, which comes in different interpretations according to the classic texts, Confucian and other philosophical formulations, is fundamentally monistic, to say it sees the world and the gods who produce it as an organic whole, or cosmos; the universal principle that gives origin to the world is conceived as transcendent and immanent to creation, at the same time. The Chinese idea of the universal God is expressed in different ways; the radical Chinese terms for the universal God are Tiān 天 and Shàngdì 上帝 or Dì 帝. There is the concept of Tàidì 太帝. Dì is a title expressing dominance over the all-under-Heaven, all things generated by Heaven and ordered by its cycles and by the stars.
Tiān is translated as "Heaven", but by graphical etymology it means "Great One" and a number of scholars relate it to the same Dì through phonetic etymology and trace their common root, through their archaic forms *Teeŋ and *Tees, to the symbols of the squared north celestial pole godhead. These names are combined in different ways in Chinese theological literature interchanged in the same paragraph if not in the same sentence. Tian is known by many names. Besides Shangdi and Taidi, other names include Yudi, Taiyi who, in mythical imagery, holds the ladle of the Big Dipper providing the movement of life to the world; as the hub of the skies, the north celestial pole constellations are known, among various names, as Tiānmén 天門 and Tiānshū 天樞. Other names of the God of Heaven are attested in the vast Chinese religio-philosophical literary tradition: Tiāndì 天帝—the "Deity of Heaven" or "Emperor of Heaven": "On Rectification" of the Xunzi uses this term to refer to the active God of Heaven setting in motion creation.
Tiānhuáng 天皇—the "King of Heaven": In the "Poem of Fathoming Profundity", transcribed in "The History of the Later Han Dynasty", Zhang Heng ornately writes: «I ask the superintendent of the Heavenly Gate to open the door and let me visit the King of Heaven at the Jade Palace».
Wu are spirit mediums who have practiced divination, sacrifice and healing in Chinese traditions dating back over 3,000 years. The Chinese word wu 巫 "spirit medium. During the late Zhou Dynasty wu was used to specify "female shaman. Other sex-differentiated shaman names include nanwu 男巫 for "male shaman. Wu is used in compounds like wugu 巫蠱 "sorcery; the word tongji 童乩 "shaman. Chinese uses phonetic transliteration to distinguish native wu from "Siberian shaman": saman 薩滿 or saman 薩蠻. "Shaman" is written with Chinese Buddhist transcriptions of Shramana "wandering monk. Joseph Needham suggests "shaman" was transliterated xianmen 羨門 in the name of Zou Yan's disciple Xianmen Gao 羨門高, he quotes the Shiji that Emperor Qin Shi Huang, "wandered about on the shore of the eastern sea, offered sacrifices to the famous mountains and the great rivers and the eight Spirits. Needham compares two Chinese terms for "shaman": shanman 珊蛮, which described the Jurchen leader Wanyan Xiyin, sizhu 司祝, used for imperial Manchu shamans during the Qing Dynasty.
Shaman is the common English translation of Chinese wu, but some scholars maintain that the Siberian shaman and Chinese wu were and culturally different shamanic traditions. Arthur Waley defines wu as "spirit-intermediary" and says, "Indeed the functions of the Chinese wu were so like those of Siberian and Tunguz shamans that it is convenient to use shaman as a translation of wu. In contrast, Schiffeler describes the "untranslatableness" of wu, prefers using the romanization "wu instead of its contemporary English counterparts, "witches," "warlocks," or "shamans"," which have misleading connotations. Taking wu to mean "female shaman", Edward H. Schafer translates it as "shamaness" and "shamanka"; the transliteration-translation "wu shaman" or "wu-shaman" implies "Chinese" and "shamanism" generally. Wu, concludes Falkenhausen, "may be rendered as "shaman" or less controversially as "spirit medium"." Paper criticizes "the majority of scholars" who use one word shaman to translate many Chinese terms, writes, "The general tendency to refer to all ecstatic religious functionaries as shamans blurs functional differences."
] The Modern Standard Chinese pronunciation of 巫 is wu, which phonologically descends from Middle Chinese and Old Chinese. Compare these Middle and Old Chinese reconstructions of wu 巫: myu < *mywo, mjuo < *mjwaɣ, *mjag, mju < *ma, *myag. Linguists disagree whether wu had an Old Chinese velar final -g or -ɣ; this 巫 is pronounced mouh in Cantonese, vu in Vietnamese, mu in Korean, fu or miko in Japanese. The contemporary Chinese character 巫 for wu combines the graphic radicals gong 工 "work" and ren 人 "person" doubled; this 巫 character developed from Seal script characters that depicted dancing shamans, which descend from Bronzeware script and Oracle bone script characters that resembled a cross potent. The first Chinese dictionary of characters, the Shuowen Jiezi defines wu as zhu 祝 "sacrifice. A woman who can serve the Invisible, by posturing bring down the spirits. Depicts a person with two sleeves posturing." This Seal graph for wu is interpreted as showing "the 工 work of two dancing figures set to each other – a shamanistic dance" or "two human figures facing some central object".
This dictionary includes a variant Great Seal script that elaborates wu 巫. Hopkins analyzes this guwen graph as gong 廾 "two hands held upward" at the bottom and two "mouths" with the "sleeves" on the sides. Schafer compares the Shang Dynasty oracle graphs for nong 弄 "play with; the Seal and modern form 巫 may well derive from this original, the hands becoming two figures, a convergence towards the dancer-type graph." Tu Baikui 塗白奎 believes the wu oracle character "was composed of two pieces of jade and designated a tool of divination." Citing Li Xiaoding 李孝定 that gong 工 pictured a "carpenter's square", Allan argues that oracle inscriptions used wu 巫 interchangeably with fang 方 "squar
Chinese temple architecture
Chinese temple architecture refer to a type of structures used as place of worship of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism or Chinese folk religion/Shenism, where people revere ethnic Chinese gods and ancestors. They can be classified as: miào or diàn meaning "temple" and enshrining gods of the Chinese pantheon, such as Dragon King, Tudigong or Mazu. Cí, cítáng, zōngcí or zǔmiào, referring to ancestral temples enshrining the ancestral gods of a family or clan. Taoist temples and monasteries: 觀/观 guàn or 道观 dàoguàn. Temples of City God, which worships the patron God of a village, town or a city. Smaller household shrines or votive niche, such as the worship of Zaoshen and Caishen. Gōng, meaning "palace" is a term used for a templar complex of multiple buildings, while yuàn is a generic term meaning "sanctuary" or "shrine". Shen temples are distinct from Taoist temples in that they are established and administered by local managers, village communities, lineage congregations and worship associations, don't have professional priests, although Taoist priests, Confucian lisheng, wu and tongji shamans, may perform services within these temples.
Shenist temples are small and decorated with traditional figures on their roofs, although some evolve into significant structures. Chinese temples can be found throughout Mainland China and where Chinese expatriate communities settled over centuries. An old name in English for Chinese traditional temples is "joss house". "Joss" is an Anglicized spelling of the Portuguese word for deus. "Joss house" was in common use in English in western North America during frontier times, when joss houses were a common feature of Chinatowns. The name "joss house" describes the environment of worship. Joss sticks, a kind of incense, are burned outside of the house. Chinese folk religion China Ancestral Temples Network
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year; the first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Tuesday, 5 February, initiating the Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year is a major holiday in Greater China and has influenced lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year, the Tết of Vietnam, the Losar of Tibet, it is celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.
Chinese New Year is associated with several customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary and the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner, it is traditional for every family to clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness and longevity. Other activities include giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival; this is folklore said that there will come out like a beast called ‘Nian’ during the Spring Festival. The beast is seen once a year; this day is called ‘New Year’.
And the day before New Year is called ‘New Year Eve’. According to the legend, the beast was ferocious as it went to the house to eat people in the midnight. In order to avoid the beast, Yanhuang reunited the people together and sat around to resist the beast; as the beast appear once a year, Yanhuang discovered that the beast was afraid of red and loud noise. Therefore every household posted red couplet at the door, ignited a bonfire outside the home, fired the firecrackers; when the beast saw those red things outside every household, they would drive away. There is a say that the beast is ‘Xi’ rather than ‘Nian’; the Spring Festival included New Year’s Eve and New Year. ‘Xi’ is a kind of faint monster, ‘Nian’ is not related to the animal beasts in terms of meaning, it is more like a mature harvest. There is no record of the beast in the ancient texts, it is only folklore in China; the word "Nian" is composed of the words "he" and "Qian". It means that the grain is rich and the harvest is good; the farmers review the harvest at the end of the year and are full of expectations for the coming year.
According to Chinese historical documents, since the beginning of the era, people have celebrated the harvest in the New Year and welcomed the new folk customs. They became an established traditional festival. “Spring Festival.” While Spring Festival has since become the official name of Chinese New Year, the Chinese outside mainland China still prefer calling it Lunar Year. “Chinese New Year” is a popular and convenient translation for people of non-Chinese cultural backgrounds. Along with the Han Chinese in and outside China, as many as 29 of the 55 ethnic minority groups in China celebrate Chinese New Year. Six countries like Korea, Singapore and Indonesia celebrate it as their official festival; the lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Lunar New Year. The calendar is used in countries that have been influenced by, or have relations with, China – such as Korea and Vietnam, though the date celebrated may differ by one day or one moon cycle due to using a meridian based on a different capital city in a different time zone or different placements of intercalary months.
Chinese calendar defines the lunar month with winter solstice as the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In more than 96% of the years, the Chinese New Year's Day is the closest new moon to lichun on 4 or 5 February, the first new moon after Dahan. In the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar New Year begins at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February; the Gregorian Calendar dates for Chinese New Year from 1912 to 2101 are below, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its Stem-branch. The traditional Chinese calendar follows a Metonic cycle, a system used by the modern Jewish Calendar, returns to the same date in Gregorian calendar roughly; the names of the Earthly Branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems; each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Earth and Water.
The elements are rotated every two years. The elements are thus distinguished: Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc.. These produce a combined cycle that repeat
Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, is part of the East China region. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, it has served as a pivotal cultural and religious center for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship; the Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, was established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north–south and east–west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China with a GDP of CNY¥5.942 trillion in 2014, or USD$967 billion, making it China's third wealthiest province.
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "Shandong" mean "mountain" and "east". Shandong could hence be translated as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ, after the States of Qi and Lu that existed in the area during the Spring and Autumn period. Whereas the State of Qi was a major power of its era, the State of Lu played only a minor role in the politics of its time. Lu, became renowned for being the home of Confucius and hence its cultural influence came to eclipse that of the State of Qi; the cultural dominance of the State of Lu heritage is reflected in the official abbreviation for Shandong, "鲁". English speakers in the 19th century called the province Shan-tung; the province is on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, extends out to sea as the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, the Yellow Sea to the southeast.
With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, Shandong was home to a succession of Neolithic cultures for millennia, including the Houli culture, the Beixin culture, the Dawenkou culture, the Longshan culture, the Yueshi culture. The earliest dynasties exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Dongyi peoples who were considered "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Dongyi were sinicized. During the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, regional states became powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two major states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius; the state was, comparatively small, succumbed to the larger state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi, on the other hand, was a major power throughout the period. Cities it ruled included Jimo and Ju; the Qin dynasty conquered Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BCE.
The Han dynasty that followed created a number of commanderies supervised by two regions in what is now modern Shandong: Qingzhou in the north and Yanzhou in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms, Shandong belonged to the Cao Wei, which ruled over northern China. After the Three Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western Jin dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao Former Yan Former Qin Later Yan Southern Yan the Liu Song dynasty, the Northern Wei dynasty, the first of the Northern dynasties during the Northern and Southern dynasties Period. Shandong stayed with the Northern dynasties for the rest of this period. In 412 CE, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.
The Sui dynasty reestablished unity in 589, the Tang dynasty presided over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits. On China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Shandong was part of all based in the north; the Song dynasty reunified China in the late tenth century. The classic novel Water Margin was based on folk tales of outlaw bands active in Shandong during the Song dynasty. In 1996, the discovery of over two hundred buried Buddhist statues at Qingzhou was hailed as a major archaeological find; the statues included early examples of painted figures, are thought to have been buried due to Emperor Huizong's repression of Buddhism. The Song dynasty was forced to cede northern China to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1142. Shandong was administered by the Jin as Shandong East Circuit and Shandong West Circuit – the first use of its current name; the modern provinc