It was the Eve of the Spring Festival.
Dusk was just falling as I slurped up the last bit of rice and laid down my chopsticks.
“They're starting!” cried my friend excitedly. “Quick! Quick!”
Outside, children were running everywhere. Their happy voices and faces made me warm inside, despite the cold wind that greeted me. My friend thrust a bundle of straw in my hands. “Come!” he cried. I giggled as I ran to catch up to him; the children's excitement was a fever that spread to even the big kids like us.
I soon joined a rowdy bunch of children and teenagers who were building a bonfire in the middle of a path that ran through the wheat fields. “Here,”said my friend, handing me a long bamboo pole. “Put some of your straw in the fire. Then tie the rest onto your pole like this.” He demonstrated with his own materials, and I followed his example. Then he thrust both our torches into the fire and handed me mine. “Now run!”
And run I did----we all did. For miles and miles around, as far as I could see, there were small orange specks scattered about, and I could hear the distant screaming and laughing of other children running up and down the rice field path. For several hours into the night I helped build fires and keep an eye on the younger children. Occasionally I, too, lit a torch and ran around like a mad man, screaming and waving a flaming bamboo pole.
This festival, which occurred six days before Chinese New Year, was just one of the experiences during the visit to my friends over the Spring Festival. As it was explained to me, the purpose behind this festival was to allow the children to have fun burning up all the straw leftover after the harvest. Later, the ash is used for fertilizer.
Last year’s Spring Festival is special. My uncle and my aunt came back from Shanghai. My family were very happy to keep the Spring Festival with them. And it was the most exciting festival of all the festivals.
On New Year’s Eve, my father and my uncle talked about their work together. My mum did some cooking with my aunt Grandparents and I watched the New Year TV programmes. At about six o’clock, we had a special family dinner. We all thought the dumplings were delicious.
On the first day of the New Year, we visited our relatives. In the afternoon, we went shopping in Jiefanf Road. My uncle bought some Jay’s CDs. He likes Jay’s music very much. There were so many people on the road. It was more alive than any other time of a year.
On the second and the third days, we spent a wonderful weekend in the country. There were much bigger trees than in the city. And the animals were more beautiful than in the city. We all enjoyed ourselves.
I had an interesting Spring Festival. How about you?
Far and away the most important holiday in China is Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year. To the Chinese people it is as important as Christmas to people in the West. the dates for this annual celebration are determined by the lunar calendar rather than the GREgorian calendar, so the timing of the holiday varies from late January to early February.
To the ordinary Chinese, the festival actually begins on the eve of the lunar New Year's Day and ends on the fifth day of the first month of the lunar calendar. But the 15th of the first month, which normally is called the Lantern Festival, means the official end of the Spring Festival in many parts of the country.