Spring Festival, which falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month is the most important festival in China and a time for family reunion, like Christmas in the West.中国人最看中的节日就是春节(每年农历正月初一)。跟西方的圣诞节一样,春节,是中国人阖家团聚的大日子。Traditionally, Spring Festival starts in the early days of the 12th month of the lunar calendar and lasts until the middle of the 1st lunar month of the following year. 传统意义上的春节,其实从农历腊月(十二月)初就开始,一直到第二年农历正月(一月)中旬才结束。With the modernization of China, some traditional customs are still followed today, but others have fallen by the way side.随着中国现代化,一些春节传统习俗被保留至今,但另一些却逐渐消失在我们的视野中。As we are preparing for the most important festival, let's have a review of the traditional customs that celebrate the Spring Festival.我们忙着为过年准备的同时,来回顾下春节的传统习俗吧。01腊月二十三:小年祭灶Little New Year, which falls the 23rd day of the 12th month in the Lunar calendar, is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, the deity who oversees the moral character of each household.农历腊月二十三是小年,又叫做祭灶节。灶神是中国神话传说中监管一家善恶之神。People make sacrifices to the Kitchen Gold on this day. 人们在小年这一天祭拜灶神。A paper image is burnt dispatching the god's spirit to Heaven to report on the family's conduct over the past year. 焚烧灶神的画像,意味着送灶神上天,禀报这家人在过去一年的德行。The Kitchen God is then welcomed back by pasting a new paper image of him beside the stove.接着人们会在灶旁贴上新的灶神画像,意味着再把灶神接回来。02腊月二十四:扫舍去尘Families undertake thorough house cleaning on the 24th day of the 12th month in the Lunar calendar,sweeping out the old in preparation for the coming year.农历腊月二十四日,各家各户会进行大扫除扫舍去尘,预示着除旧迎新。According to tradition, ghosts and deities must choose either to return to Heaven or to stay on Earth during the last month of the year. 根据传统,各路鬼神在农历腊月必须决定自己是返回天庭还是继续留在人间。It is believed that to ensure the ghosts and deities' timely departure, people must thoroughly clean both their bodies and their dwellings, down to every last drawer and cupboard.据说为了确保鬼神及时启程离开,人们必须彻底地沐浴干净、清理住处,哪怕是抽屉柜子也不能疏忽。 03腊月二十五:推磨做豆腐People turn the mill and make tofu on the 25th day of the 12th month in the Lunar calendar, as legend says the Jade Emperor will descend and taste the soybean curd residue to experience an austere life.农历腊月二十五日,人们推磨做豆腐,因为传说玉帝会在这一日降临人间,品尝豆腐渣,体验人间清贫的生活。According to Taoist mythology, the Jade Emperor is the Taoist ruler of Heaven and all realms of existence below, including that of Man and Hell. 道家神话里,玉帝是道家统治者,管理着天界及以下各界,包括人间和地狱。He is one of the most important gods of the Chinese traditional religious pantheon.玉帝是中国传统宗教诸神中最重要的神祗之一。04腊月二十六:杀猪割年肉The folk saying goes: "butcher a pig and get some meat to prepare for the New Year feast" on the 26th day of the 12th month in the Lunar calendar.中国有一句俗语:“杀猪割年肉。” 农历腊月二十六正是杀猪割年肉的日子。In the old days, many people could not afford meat and they saved the best for the New Year feast. 旧时许多人买不起肉,所以就把一年中最好的东西留到新年团圆饭吃。People's livelihoods have improved greatly and meat is now a very common dish in daily diet, but the Chinese still prefer having meat during festival season.如今人们的生活质量得到了极大的改善,一日三餐里肉食已经再常见不过,但春节期间人们仍然钟爱肉食。05腊月二十七:宰鸡赶集People kill chickens and go to market to buy provisions for the Spring Festival on the 27th day of the 12th month in the Lunar Calendar. 腊月二十七是人们动手杀鸡、上市场打年货的日子。With the approach of the Lunar New Year, Chinese people prepare ingredients and food they need for the New Year feast. Chicken is an indispensible dish.农历新年即将到来,中国人开始准备新年团圆饭所需的食材,而鸡肉是必不可少的一道菜。06腊月二十八:题写桃符After people have cleaned the house and started preparing food, they begin decorating their homes, creating an atmosphere of rejoicing and festivity on the 28th day of the 12th month in the Lunar Calendar. 扫舍除尘、采购食材之后,人们开始于腊月二十八日装饰房舍,营造喜气洋洋的节日氛围。Decorations include spring couplets, New Year pictures, posters of door gods and paper-cuts.各色装饰品包括春联、年画、门神贴画和剪纸。07腊月二十九:上供请祖On the 29th day of the 12th lunar month people visit the graves of their ancestors to honor their memory. 腊月二十九,人们动身扫墓,拜祭祖先。It is said Spring Festival originated in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-c. 1100 BC) from the people'ssacrifice to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the start of a new one.据说春节始于商朝(公元前1600年至公元前1100年),那时人们在辞旧迎新之际祭祀神灵和祖先。08腊月三十:除夕守岁Chinese people are supposed to stay up the whole night on the 30th day of the 12th month in the Lunar Calendar腊月三十,人们熬夜守岁。In Chinese mythology, a monster called nian would come out to harm people on New Year's Eve, so people get together, staying up and chatting, hoping for a peaceful passage of time. 中国神话里,一头叫“年”的妖怪会在新年的前一夜跑出来伤害人类,因此人们聚在一起,守岁聊天,祈祷能平安度过这一晚。The custom of staying up (Chinese: shou tai sui) symbolizes the warding off of all diseases and disasters and wishing good luck in the New Year.因此,中国人将新年前夕熬夜的习俗称为“守太岁”,意味着远离疾病灾祸,祈祷新年好运。Chinese people attach great importance to the Spring Festival Eve, when all family members eat dinner together.中国人十分重视除夕(即新年前一夜),彼时阖家团圆,共享团圆年夜饭。