Five major Chinese festivals offer occasions for family union and feasting.
Foremost is the Lunar New Year, celebrated in the first few days of the
first moon of the year. Friends and relatives visit each other and exchange
gifts while children and unmarried adults receive lai see, or 'lucky'
The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth
day of the fifth moon in memory of an ancient Chinese poet, Qu Yuan, who
committed suicide by jumping into a river rather than compromise his honour.
The festival has developed into an annual event characterised by dragon
boat races and eating of rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves.
For the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the
eighth moon, adults and children gather under the full moon with colourful
lanterns, which nowadays reflect a variety of objects rather than only
the animals of the lunar calendar, and eat mooncakes — a traditional
The Ching Ming Festival in spring and the Chung Yeung
Festival on the ninth day of the ninth moon are occasions for visiting
ancestral graves. Many people mark Chung Yeung by climbing hills in remembrance
of an ancient Chinese family that escaped plague and death by fleeing
to a mountain-top.