Spring mostly pasted on doors ,wishes for the new

     Spring
festival also known as Chinese new  year
is one of China’s most important festivals. It is quite similar to Christmas of
western countries.There are family reunions during the spring festival.
Traditionally the spring festival falls on the first day of the first lunar
month. The spring festival has history of more than 4000 years. A popular
legend about “Nian”, a fierce monster. Nian usually preyed on people on the
night before the new year’s day.One day an old man challenged Nian saying”I
hear you are quite capable but can you swallow other beasts of prey on earth
instead of humans who are no match for your strength”. The villagers also made
a discovery that the monster, Nian was frightened of red color and bright
flames. Therefore the doors were painted red,fires were lit in the doorway, and
loud noises made throughout the day. This tradition has continued with fire
crackers being used during spring festival.

     The 23rd
day of the twelfth lunar month is called the preliminary eve. People offer
sacrifices to the kitchen god and families share delicious food together. After
the preliminary eve, the preparation begins in earnest for the new year, which
is referred to as”seeing the new year in”. Before the new year finally comes,
houses are cleaned thoroughly including clothes, bed clothes and utensils.
Decoration is an important feature of the Chinese new year, just like
Christmas. Traditional Chinese paper cuts with detailed intricate patterns are
a traditional item for decoration. They are put  in wall frames or pressed under glass table
tops. Spring couplets are common, these are mostly  pasted on doors ,wishes for the new year  are expressed, this varies among people.
Pictures of the gods of door and wealth are posted on doors believed   to
ward off evil spirits and welcome peace and abundance.

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     The
Chinese character “fu”(meaning blessing,happiness) is important. It is most
times pasted upside down, when it is pasted that way it is pronounced as “fudaole”
which means:”blessings for wealth have arrived”. Two big red lanterns are hung
on both sides of the front door. On spring festival eve, a sumptuous dinner is
served including chicken ,fish ,tofu, in Chinese, the pronunciations “fu, yu,
doufu” means “auspicious, abundant ,blessed”. In northern China “jiaozi”  i.e dumplings are eaten, as people believe “jiaozi”
means “bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new”.  The shape of the dumplings resemble that of
gold nuggets back in ancient China. People eating it wish for money  and 
treasure.Meanwhile in the southern part of China,”niangao”(new year cake
made of glutinous rice flour)is eaten. “Niangao” means “higher and higher,one
year after another”

    Finally,
on the new year’s day, everyone dress in their finest clothes, the elders give
the children money in red envelopes.In China, red symbolizes
happiness,prosperity and goodluck. The money is called is called”yasuiqian”
this is known as lucky money. The money is believed to assure the children will
grow healthy  in the new year. Activities
 such as lion dancing, dragon dance,
lantern festival and temple fairs are performed.

      NEW YAM FESTIVAL

      New
yam festival known as “Iri Ji” is an important festival in Nigeria. It is
usually celebrated between August and October.            It
is an ancient tradition. The aim of the festival is to officially present the
newly harvested yams to the gods and ancestors, to thank them for a fruitful
planting season. Yams are very important in Nigerian culture. In the ancient
times, the number of yams that a man grows indicates his wealth and rank within
the society.Additionally, the cultivation of yams is associated with
masculinity. During the festival, people returm to their hometowns, families
come together to celebrate the new yam festival. Also, gaily dressed married
women return to their hometowns with animals such as, goats, fowls and sometimes
cows to celebrate the new yam festival with their family members.

      The
evening that precedes the start of the festival, all old yams from the previous
planting season are destroyed. It is believed that the new planting season must
begin with tasty, fresh yams. During the duration of the festival only dishes
made out of yam are served. Every family is expected to kill an animal as a
sacrifice to the gods so that they can receive guidance throughout the next
farming period. The festival lasts for three days. On the first day,there is
the “Igo Nne”( celebration of dead mothers). Then on the second day, is “Igo
Nna”( celebration of dead fathers). Finally on the third day, the oldest man in
the community offers the yam and prayers to the gods ,deities and ancestors,
then eats the first yam before giving others. A great feast is prepared, local
dishes such as,”Ji Awayi(yam porridge),roasted yam,steamed yam with red oily
sauce(prepared with fresh palm oil,Utazi,cayfish) are eaten. There are also
dances performed such as masquerade and atilogwu dances.