Republic of China (1912–1949)
The Republic of China controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, its government moved to Taipei in December 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army, his party led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.
In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang established a rival government in Canton City, Canton Province, together with the fledgling Communist Party of China. The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death, started the Northern Expedition military campaign in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, completed in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a nationalist government in Nanking, massacred communists in Shanghai, which forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. There were industrialization and modernization, but conflict between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remnant warlords, the Empire of Japan. Nation-building took a backseat to the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War resumed in 1946 between the KMT and CPC, with both sides receiving foreign assistance due to the Cold War from the USA and USSR, respectively.
During this period, the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replaced the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic's fundamental law. Near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the nationalist government on the Chinese mainland; the Government of the Republic of China moved from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, controlling only the Taiwan area after 1949. The official name of the state in the mainland was the "Republic of China". Shortly after the ROC's establishment in 1912, while it was still located on the Chinese mainland, the government used the short form "China" to refer to itself, which derives from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne, the name was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state during the Qing era; the ROC used alternate names throughout its existence were Republican China or Republican Era, as well as the Beiyang government, the Nationalist government.
A republic was formally established on 1 January 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution, which itself began with the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911 overthrowing the Qing dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. From its founding until 1949 it was based on mainland China. Central authority waxed and waned in response to warlordism, Japanese invasion, a full-scale civil war, with central authority strongest during the Nanjing Decade, when most of China came under the control of the Kuomintang under an authoritarian one-party military dictatorship. At the end of World War II in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered control of Taiwan and its island groups to the Allies, Taiwan was placed under the Republic of China's administrative control; the communist takeover of mainland China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 left the ruling Kuomintang with control over only Taiwan, Kinmen and other minor islands. With the 1949 loss of mainland China in the civil war, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan and the KMT declared Taipei the provisional capital.
The Communist Party of China took over all of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China in Beijing. In 1912, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established to replace the monarchy; the Qing dynasty that preceded the republic experienced a century of instability throughout the 19th century, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism. The ongoing instability led to the outburst of Boxer Rebellion in 1900, whose attacks on foreigners led to the invasion by the Eight Nation Alliance. China signed the Boxer Protocol and paid a large indemnity to the foreign powers: 450 million taels of fine silver. A program of institutional reform proved too late. Only the lack of an alternative regime prolonged its existence until 1912; the establishment of the Chinese Republic developed out of the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing government on 10 October 1911. That date is now celebrated annually as the ROC's national day known as the "Double Ten Day".
On 29 December 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected president b
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. 12 percent of the opium latex is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and for illegal drug trade. The latex contains the related opiates codeine and thebaine, non-analgesic alkaloids such as papaverine and noscapine; the traditional, labor-intensive method of obtaining the latex is to scratch the immature seed pods by hand. The word "meconium" referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the opium poppy or different species of poppies; the production methods have not changed since ancient times. Through selective breeding of the Papaver somniferum plant, the content of the phenanthrene alkaloids morphine, to a lesser extent thebaine has been increased. In modern times, much of the thebaine, which serves as the raw material for the synthesis for oxycodone, hydrocodone and other semisynthetic opiates, originates from extracting Papaver orientale or Papaver bracteatum.
For the illegal drug trade, the morphine is extracted from the opium latex, reducing the bulk weight by 88%. It is converted to heroin, two to four times as potent, increases the value by a similar factor; the reduced weight and bulk make it easier to smuggle. The Mediterranean region contains the earliest archeological evidence of human use. Evidence from ancient Greece indicates that opium was consumed in several ways, including inhalation of vapors, medical poultices, as a combination with hemlock for suicide; the Sumerian, Egyptian, Minoan, Roman and Arab Empires all made widespread use of opium, the most potent form of pain relief available, allowing ancient surgeons to perform prolonged surgical procedures. Opium is mentioned in the most important medical texts of the ancient world, including the Ebers Papyrus and the writings of Dioscorides and Avicenna. Widespread medical use of unprocessed opium continued through the American Civil War before giving way to morphine and its successors, which could be injected at a controlled dosage.
Opium has been collected since prehistoric times, since 3400 BCE. A common name for males in Afghanistan is "Redey", which in Pashto means "poppy"; this term may be derived from the Sanskrit words rddhi and hrdya, which mean "magical", "a type of medicinal plant", "heart-pleasing", respectively. The upper Asian belt of Afghanistan, northern India, Burma still account for the world's largest supply of opium. At least 17 finds of Papaver somniferum from Neolithic settlements have been reported throughout Switzerland and Spain, including the placement of large numbers of poppy seed capsules at a burial site, which have been carbon-14 dated to 4200 BCE. Numerous finds of P. somniferum or P. setigerum from Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been reported. The first known cultivation of opium poppies was in Mesopotamia 3400 BCE, by Sumerians, who called the plant hul gil, the "joy plant". Tablets found at Nippur, a Sumerian spiritual center south of Baghdad, described the collection of poppy juice in the morning and its use in production of opium.
Cultivation continued in the Middle East by the Assyrians, who collected poppy juice in the morning after scoring the pods with an iron scoop. Opium production continued under the Egyptians. Opium was used with poison hemlock to put people and painlessly to death, but it was used in medicine. Spongia somnifera, sponges soaked in opium, were used during surgery; the Egyptians cultivated opium thebaicum in famous poppy fields around 1300 BCE. Opium was traded from Egypt by the Phoenicians and Minoans to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece and Europe. By 1100 BCE, opium was cultivated on Cyprus, where surgical-quality knives were used to score the poppy pods, opium was cultivated and smoked. Opium was mentioned after the Persian conquest of Assyria and Babylonian lands in the 6th century BCE. From the earliest finds, opium has appeared to have ritual significance, anthropologists have speculated ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power. In Egypt, the use of opium was restricted to priests and warriors, its invention is credited to Thoth, it was said to have been given by Isis to Ra as treatment for a headache.
A figure of the Minoan "goddess of the narcotics", wearing a crown of three opium poppies, c. 1300 BCE, was recovered from the Sanctuary of Gazi, together with a simple smoking apparatus. The Greek gods Hypnos and Thanatos were depicted wreathed in poppies or holding them. Poppies frequently adorned statues of Apollo, Pluto, Aphrodite and Isis, symbolizing nocturnal oblivion; as the power of the Roman Empire declined, the lands to the south and east of the Mediterranean Sea became incorporated into the Islamic Empires. Some Muslims believe hadiths, such as in Sahih Bukhari, prohibits every intoxicating substance, though the use of intoxicants in medicine has been wi
The winter solstice known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice, its opposite is the summer solstice. The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere's winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice. Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are "midwinter", the "extreme of winter", or the "shortest day". Traditionally, in many temperate regions, the winter solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today in some countries and calendars, it is seen as the beginning of winter. In meteorology, winter is reckoned as beginning about three weeks before the winter solstice.
Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic rebirth of the Sun; the seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Seasonal lag is the term relating the lag shift between the coldest winter weather and the winter solstice; as latitude increases, midwinter correlates more with the winter solstice. The solstice may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures during neolithic times. Astronomical events were used to guide activities, such as the mating of animals, the sowing of crops and the monitoring of winter reserves of food. Many cultural mythologies and traditions are derived from this; this is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise and the winter solstice sunset.
It is significant that at Stonehenge the Great Trilithon was oriented outwards from the middle of the monument, i.e. its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun. The winter solstice was immensely important because the people were economically dependent on monitoring the progress of the seasons. Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April or July to October known as "the famine months". In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was the only time of year when a plentiful supply of fresh meat was available; the majority of wine and beer made during the year was fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but at the beginning of the pagan day, which in many cultures fell on the previous eve; because the event was seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common.
In cultures which used cyclic calendars based on the winter solstice, the "year as reborn" was celebrated with reference to life-death-rebirth deities or "new beginnings" such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. "reversal" is yet another frequent theme, as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals. Makara Sankranti known as Makaraa Sankrānti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya, it is observed each year in January. It marks the first day of Sun's transit into Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. Iranian people celebrate the night of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice as, "Yalda night", known to be the "longest and darkest night of the year". Yalda night celebration, or as some call it "Shabe Chelleh", is one the oldest Iranian traditions, present in Persian culture from the ancient years. In this night all the family gather together at the house of the eldest, celebrate it by eating and reciting poetry.
Nuts and watermelons are served during this festival. The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve-day "midwinter" holiday called Yule. Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, others, are direct descendents of Yule customs. Scandinavians still call Christmas "Jul". In English, the word "Yule" is used in combination with the season "yuletide" a usage first recorded in 900, it is believed that the celebration of this day was a worship of these peculiar days, interpreted as the reawakening of nature. The Yule particular god was Jólner, one of Odin's many names; the concept of Yule occurs in a tribute poem to Harold Hårfager from about AD 900, where someone said "drinking Yule". Julblot is the most solemn sacrifice feast. At the Yule blót, sacrifices were given to the gods to earn blessing on the forthcoming germinating crops; the Yule blót was integrated into the Christian Christmas. As a remainder from this Viking era, the Midsummer is
Taiwan the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous state and largest economy, not a member of the United Nations; the island of Taiwan was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the 17th century, when Dutch colonialists opened the island to mass Han immigration. After a brief rule by the Kingdom of Tungning, the island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, ceded to Japan in 1895. Following the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Republic of China, which had overthrown and succeeded the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan; the resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the loss of the mainland to the Communists and the flight of the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. Although the ROC government continued to claim to be the legitimate representative of China, since 1950 its effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and several small islands.
In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of industrialisation. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it changed from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system; as a founding member, the ROC represented China in the UN until it was replaced by the PRC in 1971. The PRC has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and refused diplomatic relations with any country that recognises the ROC; as of 2019, Taiwan maintains official ties with 16 out of 193 UN member states. Most international organisations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only as a non-state actor. Most major powers maintain unofficial ties with Taiwan through representative offices and institutions that function as de facto embassies and consulates. In Taiwan, the major political division is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unification and promoting a Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring to independence and promoting a Taiwanese identity, though both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.
Taiwan is a high-income advanced economy, with a skilled and educated workforce. It has the 22nd-largest economy in the world, its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global economy, it is urbanised, is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with most of the population concentrated on the western coast. The state is ranked in terms of civil and political liberties, health care and human development. Various names for the island of Taiwan remain in use today, each derived from explorers or rulers during a particular historical period; the name Formosa dates from 1542, when Portuguese sailors sighted an uncharted island and noted it on their maps as Ilha Formosa. The name Formosa "replaced all others in European literature" and remained in common use among English speakers into the 20th century. In the early 17th century, the Dutch East India Company established a commercial post at Fort Zeelandia on a coastal sandbar called "Tayouan", after their ethnonym for a nearby Taiwanese aboriginal tribe Taivoan people, written by the Dutch and Portuguese variously as Taiouwang, Teijoan, etc.
This name was adopted into the Chinese vernacular as the name of the sandbar and nearby area. The modern word "Taiwan" is derived from this usage, seen in various forms in Chinese historical records; the area occupied by modern-day Tainan represented the first permanent settlement by both European colonists and Chinese immigrants. The settlement grew to be the island's most important trading centre and served as its capital until 1887. Use of the current Chinese name became official as early as 1684 with the establishment of Taiwan Prefecture. Through its rapid development the entire Formosan mainland became known as "Taiwan". In his Daoyi Zhilüe, Wang Dayuan used "Liuqiu" as a name for the island of Taiwan, or the part of it closest to Penghu. Elsewhere, the name was used for the Ryukyu Islands in general or Okinawa, the largest of them; the name appears in the Book of Sui and other early works, but scholars cannot agree on whether these references are to the Ryukyus, Taiwan or Luzon. The official name of the state is the "Republic of China".
Shortly after the ROC's establishment in 1912, while it was still located on the Chinese mainland, the government used the short form "China" to refer to itself, which derives from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne, the name was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state during the Qing era. During the 1950s and 1960s, after the government had withdrawn to Taiwan upon losing the Chinese Civil War, it was referred to as "Nationalist China" to differentiate it from "Communist China", it was a member of the United Nations representing "China" until 1971, when it lost its seat to the People's Republic of China. Over subsequent decades, the Republic of China has become known as "Taiwan", after the island that comprises 99% of the territory under its control. In some contexts ROC government publications, the name is written as "
Second Guangzhou Uprising
The Second Guangzhou Uprising, known in Chinese as the Yellow Flower Mound Uprising or the Guangzhou Xinhai Uprising, was a failed uprising led by Huang Xing and his fellow revolutionaries against the Qing Dynasty in Guangzhou. It is honored in Guangzhou's Yellow Flower Huanghuagang Park. At this time Malaya, which included what is now Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, had the largest Overseas Chinese population outside of China itself. Many of them carried out activities for the revolutionaries. On November 13, 1910, Sun Yat-sen, along with several leading figures of the Tongmenghui, gathered at the Penang conference to draw up plans for a decisive battle; the following day on November 14, 1910, Sun Yat-sen chaired an Emergency Meeting of the Tongmenghui at 120 Armenian Street and raised Straits Dollars $8,000 on the spot. The planning events are known as the 1910 Penang Conference. Planned to occur on April 13, 1911, the preparations on April 8 did not go as planned, delaying the date to April 27.
Huang Xing and nearly a hundred fellow revolutionaries forced their way into the residence of the Qing viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. The uprising was successful but Qing reinforcements turned the battle into a catastrophic defeat. Most revolutionaries were killed, only few managed to escape. Huang Xing was wounded during the battle. 86 bodies were found, the bodies of yet many others were not found. The dead were nationalistic, revolutionary youths with all kinds of social backgrounds -- former students, teachers and patriotic overseas Chinese; some of them were of high rank in the Alliance. Before the battle, most of the revolutionaries knew that the battle would be lost, since they were outnumbered, but they went into battle anyway; the mission was carried out like that of a suicide squad. Their letters to their loved ones were found; the dead were buried together in one grave on the Yellow Flower Mound, a mound near where they fought and died which has lent its name to the uprising.
After the Chinese revolution, a cemetery was built on the mound with the names of those 72 revolutionary nationalists. They were commemorated as the "72 martyrs." Some historians believe that the uprising was a direct cause of the Wuchang uprising, which led to the Xinhai Revolution and the founding of the Republic of China. Among the martyrs who sacrificed is Revolutionary Lin Jue-min; the uprising is remembered annually in Taiwan as Youth Day. The 1980 film Magnificent 72 and the 2011 film 72 Heroes focus on the uprising. Events of the uprising open the 2011 film 1911. Xinhai Revolution
First Opium War
The First Opium War known as the Opium War or the Anglo-Chinese War, was a series of military engagements fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing dynasty of China over diplomatic relations and the administration of justice in China. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the demand for Chinese goods in Europe created a trade imbalance between Qing Imperial China and Great Britain. European silver flowed into China through the Canton System, which confined incoming foreign trade to the southern port city of Canton. To counter this imbalance, the British East India Company began to grow opium in India and smuggle them into China illegally; the influx of narcotics reversed the Chinese trade surplus, drained the economy of silver, increased the numbers of opium addicts inside the country, outcomes that worried Chinese officials. In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor, rejecting proposals to legalize and tax opium, appointed viceroy Lin Zexu to go to Canton to halt the opium trade completely. Lin wrote to Queen Victoria an open letter in an appeal to her moral responsibility to stop the opium trade.
When he failed to get a response, he attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this failed too. Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants' enclave, he confiscated all supplies and ordered a blockade of foreign ships to get them to surrender their opium supply. Lin confiscated 20,283 chests of opium; the British government responded by dispatching a military force to China and in the ensuing conflict, the Royal Navy used its naval and gunnery power to inflict a series of decisive defeats on the Chinese Empire, a tactic referred to as gunboat diplomacy. In 1842, the Qing dynasty was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking—the first of what the Chinese called the unequal treaties—which granted an indemnity and extraterritoriality to Britain, opened five treaty ports to foreign merchants, ceded Hong Kong Island to the British Empire; the failure of the treaty to satisfy British goals of improved trade and diplomatic relations led to the Second Opium War, the perceived weakness of the Qing dynasty resulted in social unrest within China, namely the Taiping Rebellion, which the Qing dynasty fought against the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
In China, the war is considered the beginning of modern Chinese history. Direct maritime trade between Europe and China began in 1557 when the Portuguese leased an outpost from the Ming dynasty at Macau. Other European nations soon followed the Portuguese lead, inserting themselves into the existing Asian maritime trade network to compete with Arab, Chinese and Japanese merchants in intra-regional commerce. After the Spanish conquest of the Philippines the exchange of goods between China and Europe accelerated dramatically. From 1565 on, the Manila Galleons brought silver into the Asian trade network from mines in South America. China was a primary destination for the precious metal, as the imperial government mandated that Chinese goods could only be exported in exchange for silver bullion. British ships began to appear sporadically around the coasts of China from 1635 on. Without establishing formal relations through the Chinese tributary system, by which most Asian nations were able to negotiate with China, British merchants were only allowed to trade at the ports of Zhoushan and Guangzhou.
Official British trade was conducted through the auspices of the British East India Company, which held a royal charter for trade with the Far East. The East India Company came to dominate Sino-European trade from its position in India and due to the strength of the Royal Navy. Trade benefited. Taiwan came under Qing control in 1683 and rhetoric regarding the tributary status of Europeans was muted. Guangzhou became the port of preference for incoming foreign trade. Ships did try to call at other ports, but these locations could not match the benefits of Canton's geographic position at the mouth of the Pearl River, nor did they have the city's long experience in balancing the demands of Beijing with those of Chinese and foreign merchants. From 1700 onward Canton was the center of maritime trade with China, this market process was formulated by Qing authorities into the "Canton System". From the system's inception in 1757, trading in China was lucrative for European and Chinese merchants alike as goods such as tea and silk were valued enough in Europe to justify the expenses of traveling to Asia.
The system was regulated by the Qing government. Foreign traders were only permitted to do business through a body of Chinese merchants known as the Cohong and were forbidden to learn Chinese. Foreigners could only live in one of the Thirteen Factories and were not allowed to enter or trade in any other part of China. Only low level government officials could be dealt with, the imperial court could not be lobbied for any reason excepting official diplomatic missions; the Imperial laws that upheld the system were collectively known as the Prevention Barbarian Ordinances. The Cohong were powerful in the Old China Trade, as they were tasked with appraising the value of foreign products, purchasing or rebuffing said imports, charged with selling Chinese exports at an appropriate price; the Cohong was made up of between 6 to 20 merchant families. Most of the merchant houses these families ruled had been established by low-ranking mandarins, but
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