新春快樂 (Happy Spring Festival!)

Spirit Jar, Western Jin Dynasty (281-316 A.D.)
China
Ceramic; 16 1/2 x 8 3/8 in.
2000.65.2
Gift of Heather Sacre
The Spring Festival refers to the lunar calendar, yet also pertains to folklore referring to the period beginning with the ceremony for worshipping the Kitchen God on the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month, and ending with the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month the following year. As the commencement of Spring Festival begins on January 28th , every household in China by tradition typically attaches red Spring Festival couplets or chunlianflanking each side of their front doors. This is a tradition which has been carried on for millennia, with the couplets originating as peach wood charms or taofu, with the names of ghost-avenging gods, titled Shentu and Yulei engraved on the wood boards. These were intended to scare away evil spirits. This day will also begin by people setting off firecrackers, leaving behind red pieces of paper which cover the ground.
Each Spring Festival is marked by the Twelve Animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. As you can see in the image above, our Chinese Sprit Jar originating from the Western Jin Dynasty (281-316 A.D.), which is on view in our Ancient Arts of Chinaexhibit, is embellished with all of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
As you may know, 2017 is the year of the Rooster, the tenth Chinese zodiac sign, and those born under that animal are industrious, hardworking, punctual and proud. This specific year of the Fire Rooster (which has not been seen since 1957) is projected to be a time when we are all going to be extricating ourselves from last year’s confusing and mercurial period, and entering into a more rational and constructive year ahead of us; invoking new beginnings and prosperity in 2017.
To increase the yielding of successes, the Spring Festival evokes many annual traditions in order to increase the likelihood of more financial wealth and good health for those celebrating. The typical celebrations revolve around harmony, reuniting with loved ones and family, and practices to ensure good luck for the coming year. The late supper of the lunar New Year’s Eve is known as tuanyan fan (family reunion dinner), and for the Chinese, this is the most important dinner of the year when families reunite especially if loved ones live far away. Fish is an absolute necessity for the New Year’s Eve dinner, which is a symbol of having a “surplus” each year. These traditions are all part of a distinctive and festive time each year to celebrate family and festivities, as well as the burgeoning Spring season. 
Text and images may be under copyright. Please contact Collection Department for permission to use. Information subject to change upon further research.
White Doves, Pretty Ladies and Mischievous Cupids:...
A Slice of California History
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Captcha Image