(East thing asked) Xiao Fang: Why is the Lantern Festival inseparable from the word "noisy"?

  China News Agency, Beijing, February 15th: Why is the Lantern Festival inseparable from the word "noisy"?

  Author Xiao Fang Director of the Department of Anthropology and Folklore, School of Sociology, Beijing Normal University

  "When spring arrives in the world, people are like jade, and the lamp burns the moon and the moon is like silver." On the night of the Yuan Dynasty, the bright moon is a thousand miles away, and the lanterns and trees are like stars like the day.

As the "finale" of the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month is inseparable from the word "noisy". There is no trouble, and everyone prays for blessings and auspiciousness, which confirms people's expectations for this festival.

Lantern Festival is the Chinese "Carnival"

  The Lantern Festival is an important part of the Lunar New Year, also known as "Yuan Xi" and "Yuan Ye".

Its status is closely related to the establishment of "the beginning of the year" on the first day of the first lunar month.

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty promulgated the "Taichu Calendar", and set the first month of the first month as the first month of the year, the first day of the first month as Yuanzheng, and the fifteenth day of the first month as the first full moon night of the new year. The fifteenth day of the lunar calendar).

There are different theories about the origin of the Lantern Festival, among which there are three more influential ones: the origin of the sacrifice of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, the origin of Taoism and the origin of Buddhism.

  The folk customs of Lantern Festival correspond to New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve is a closed-door reunion of "small families", while Lantern Festival is a lively and joyous gathering in the public space of the community.

"Noisy" is the theme of the Lantern Festival. The forms of "noisy" are rich and colorful. The noise of gongs and drums, the noise of social fire, the noise of singing and dancing, the noise of amusement, the noise of lanterns, and the noise of Lantern Festival together constitute the carnival atmosphere of the Lantern Festival.

In February 2019, people and tourists gathered to celebrate the Lantern Festival in Deqing County, Guangdong Province.

The picture shows the unique Chinese folklore of "shooting a lion with a cannonball".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Suo Youwei

  There are two kinds of loud noises on the Lantern Festival. One is the sound of gongs and drums. When there are no gongs and drums or there are not enough gongs and drums, people also use other utensils that can make sounds. proverb.

The second is the human voice of singing and dancing. The Lantern Festival is a folk song and dance performance day. In addition to dragon and lion dances, there is a tradition of performing rural dramas in northern and southern China. Yangko opera in the north, flower drum opera and tea picking opera in the south are all often performed .

In the Northeast region, villagers make up the play, called "Taiping Song", and Henan and the two lakes (Hunan, Hubei) regions are called "makeup stories".

In February 2019, a parade and lantern festival with the characteristics of Chinese New Year was held on the streets of Changsha.

Traditional folk performances such as traditional dragons and lions and big-headed dolls attracted many people to watch.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Yang Huafeng

  The spiritual connotation of "nao" is to pray for a prosperous and prosperous year on the night of "the bright moon of the year", which is also a concentrated expression of the feelings, wishes and beliefs of the community.

The daytime is the city, and the lights are lit at night. The noise of the Lantern Festival night can wake up the hibernating earth and encourage the earth to rejuvenate. People go out of their homes and integrate into the society, connecting emotions and conveying warmth through joyful gatherings.

"Men and women play" is a unique cultural landscape of Lantern Festival

  "The crowd looked for him thousands of times, and suddenly looked back, but the man was there, where the lights were dim." Through the words and phrases in Xin Qiji's "Qingyu Case: Yuan Xi", we can feel the romantic atmosphere of the Lantern Festival.

On the night of Lantern Festival, women are the protagonists. Even women who hide their boudoirs on weekdays have a rare opportunity to travel. They go out of the house in festive costumes, go upstairs to admire the moon, watch operas and lights, and walk bridges and nails until midnight.

"Men and women play" has become a unique cultural landscape of the Lantern Festival, giving young men and women a good opportunity to meet love, so the Lantern Festival is also known as the "Valentine's Day" of the Chinese.

In March 2018, young tourists from home and abroad watch the lanterns and celebrate the Lantern Festival in the Yu Garden in Shanghai.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Yin Liqin

  The Lantern Festival is also an opportunity for many literary works to describe the love between men and women. For example, the traditional Quanzhou play "Chen San and Wu Niang" depicts Chen San and Wu Niang meeting and falling in love while viewing lanterns on the Lantern Festival; Sichuan Opera "Spring Lantern Riddles" describes Yu Wenyan and Wei Wenfeng. The story of the lantern festival meeting and forming a bond; there is also the story of Princess Chen Guolechang of the Southern Dynasty and her husband Xu Deyan's "reunion" on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. These drama stories are all based on the Lantern Festival and the Lantern Market.

  The typical festival custom of Lantern Festival is the Lantern Festival, so it is also called "Lantern Festival".

The prosperity of the Lantern Festival began in the Sui and Tang Dynasties and has been followed by successive dynasties.

In the Sui and Tang Dynasties, there was also the custom of wearing "nuo noodles" to enjoy the lanterns. Young men and women wearing masks to enjoy the lanterns on the street can easily become the beginning of a romantic story.

In the TV series "Da Ming Palace Ci", the classic scene of Princess Taiping and Xue Shao taking off his Kunlun slave mask when they first met, happened at the Lantern Festival during the Lantern Festival.

  Women also have the custom of "touching nails" on the Lantern Festival. "Nail" and "Ding" are the same sound, and "touching nails" indicates the prosperity of family members.

"Worshiping Zigu" is also an important part of the Lantern Festival customs. "Zigu" is the goddess of girls. Girls ask her about marriage, forgiveness, and success. These customs reflect women's prayers for a happy marriage, long-lasting children, A wish for good health and a good harvest in life.

Rediscover traditional festivals and customs

  In the process of the development and evolution of the New Year's customs, everyone feels that the "noisy" color of the Lantern Festival has faded, and the complicated customs and customs have been forgotten.

The similarities and differences between the southern "glutinous rice balls" and the northern "Yuanxiao" have become a topic of endless debate among young people on the Internet.

In March 2018, Kunming Hanfu lovers dressed in traditional costumes during the Lantern Festival, wrapped Lantern Festival, guessed lantern riddles, and reproduced the traditional Lantern Festival scene.

The picture shows lovers dressed in Hanfu preparing to eat Yuanxiao.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Ranyang

  In recent years, with the advancement of the protection of intangible cultural heritage, the tradition of New Year's customs has been revived, and more and more young people are interested in traditional New Year's customs.

However, in the past two years, the new crown epidemic has affected people's reunion at home to a certain extent, and people can't help but sigh that the atmosphere of the Spring Festival has faded.

Thanks to the rapid development of network information technology, although people cannot meet face to face, they can meet in the "cloud", which also provides new ideas and new ways to revive traditional customs.

The current society has been undergoing great changes, and traditional etiquette and customs should adapt to the new environment and be updated through inheritance.

  How to restore and rebuild New Year's etiquette?

First of all, we must pay attention to the positive role of traditional human etiquette and customs in promoting family and social harmony. As the saying goes, "If you don't catch up with the new year, it will be 30 nights in time for the new year." Family reunion is a spiritual renewal process.

It is also necessary to pay attention to the reconstruction of sacrificial rituals and customs. Sacrificial rituals and customs are not feudal superstitions. They should be regarded as a way of emotional expression and a kind of spiritual sustenance. On the one hand, it strengthens the respect for ancestors and nature, and on the other hand, it satisfies people's psychology of praying for blessings and welcoming auspiciousness. need.

In addition, it is necessary to enrich the rituals and customs of welcoming the Spring Festival during the Spring Festival, so as to inspire people to welcome the new year with a high attitude and spirit.

Inheritance and New Changes of New Year's Customs in Overseas

  Traditional festivals continue to strengthen the memory of Chinese national culture through many specific customs and time nodes. Externally, it is the expression of cultural identity, and internally it is a way of cultural identity.

The Chinese live in a different cultural environment. By celebrating the Spring Festival to show their identity and culture, they can find their place in the multiculturalism, and at the same time allow overseas people to share the Chinese New Year.

  The Lantern Festival is the climax of Spring Festival activities.

Chinese from different countries and regions also keep the Lantern Festival customs. For example, Malaysian Chinese youth have the custom of "throwing oranges" on Lantern Festival. Single women write their contact information on the oranges and throw them into the water. In Yokohama, Japan, the Chinese and local people will go to Chinatown to enjoy the lanterns during the Lantern Festival; in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities in the United States, Chinese people will gather together to taste glutinous rice balls, lanterns, dragon and lion dances, etc. .

In February 2019, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia held the Lantern Festival "Tossing Oranges".

"Tossing oranges" is a unique folk custom of the Chinese Lantern Festival in Malaysia. Traditionally, women write their contact information on the oranges and throw them into the water, and men salvage them.

The picture shows a Malaysian girl showing her and her friend's wish written on citrus.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Yue

  We have seen that the Chinese Spring Festival folk customs also incorporate some cultural characteristics of the country they live in. This is a natural phenomenon. If the Chinese folk culture and the local culture are "unsuitable", it will be difficult to pass on.

In the process of development and evolution of Chinese folk culture, it has also promoted the openness and integration of different civilizations.

  The rich connotation and application value of Spring Festival culture is a solid foundation for it to go to the world.

The Spring Festival has broad significance in terms of cultural connotation, social value and life service functions. The Spring Festival folk customs include the concept of harmonious coexistence between man and nature, adherence to family values, and reverence for history and ancestors, all of which are positive for the Spring Festival to go global. factor.

In addition, the prosperous and auspicious Spring Festival decorations that reflect family aesthetics, the variety of Spring Festival delicacies that surprise the taste buds, the dynamic folk customs such as social fire, lantern viewing, dragon and lion dance are all artistic languages ​​that are easy to communicate with overseas people.

  Going out of the Spring Festival folk customs cannot simply be understood as sending folk culture out, but to enable foreign people to understand the concepts behind the Spring Festival, including the concept of "harmony", the awareness of seeking innovation, the importance of family, and the prospect of a better life. I hope that it is easier to resonate with foreign people by telling these cultural connotations with small stories and sincere language.


About the Author:

  Xiao Fang is the director, professor and doctoral supervisor of the Department of Anthropology and Folklore at the Institute of Social Management/School of Sociology, Beijing Normal University.

His research interests include historical folklore, folk culture history, festivals and etiquette folklore.

At present, he presides over the major project of the National Social Science Fund "Expanding the Construction of a Civilization Practice Center in the New Era", and has presided over and participated in the key project of the National Social Science Fund "Research on the Contemporary Reconstruction and Inheritance of the Tradition of Life Etiquette", the major project of the Ministry of Education's liberal arts base "Liaoning Province". Jinyuan folk literature history and digital management system” and other scientific research projects above the provincial and ministerial level.

Published academic works such as "Research on the Chronicles of Jingchu Years--Also on the View of Time in the Life of Traditional Chinese People" and "Sui Shi-The Time Life of Traditional Chinese People".

He has published about 200 academic papers, such as "The Years - The Time Experience of Traditional Chinese" and "Theory and Methodology of Chinese Historical Folklore".