Do you know Xiao Nian?
Jan 23, 2014 01:08
  • ZOEY
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Xiao Nian is a special festival for Chinese people. It usually falls on the 23th or 24th of last month on Chinese lunar calendar. Chinese people clean their houses and worship Kitchen God on this festival. Every family has a Kitchen God in their kitchen.

Legend has it that Kitchen Gods come back to heaven on the festival day and report people’s good and bad deeds to the Jade Emperor (the ruler of the heaven). People just want the Jade Emperor to know their good deeds. Therefore, they make malt sugar for their Kitchen God as sacrifice, hoping the Kitchen Gods just report their good deeds to the Jade Emperor. In some areas, horses made of paper or bamboo strips and provender are served as sacrifice too. After enjoying malt sugar, the Kitchen God rides his horse back to heaven.

On the Chinese New Year Eve, the Kitchen God comes back from heaven. People never forget their Kitchen Gods. Before they start to enjoy a grand family feast, they provide some food delicacies for their Kitchen Gods too.

So far, there hasn’t been a correct translation for Xiao Nian. Off Year once was used as the equivalent for Xiao Nian in English. Definitely, off year is not the right one. It means non-bearing year for fruit trees, bamboo etc. A foreigner suggest that Xiao Nian can be translated into “Minor Spring Festival” or “Minor Chinese New Year” in English. What do you think?

Today, Jan 23 on Chinese lunar calendar is Xiao Nian.
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