ESL jobs in China|Find a teaching english job(TEFL jobs) in China.

Little New Year, which falls about a week before the lunar New Year, is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, the deity who oversees the moral character of each household. In one of the most distinctive traditions of Spring Festival, a paper image of the Kitchen God is burnt on Little New Year, dispatching the god’s spirit to Heaven to report on the family’s conduct over the past year.

The Kitchen God is then welcomed back by pasting a new paper image of him beside the stove. From this vantage point, the Kitchen God will oversee and protect the household for another year. The close association of the Kitchen God with the Lunar New Year has resulted in Kitchen God Festival being called Little New Year. Although very few families still make offerings to the Kitchen God on this day, many traditional holiday activities are still very popular.

Studies of popular Chinese religion indicate that the Kitchen God did not appear until after the invention of the brick cooking stove. The cooking stove was a fairly late development in the history of human civilization. Ancient writings indicate that the Fire God, the earliest form of the Kitchen God, was worshipped long before the stove was invented.

Zhu Rong,China’s ancient Fire God was a popular folk deity and had many temples built in his honor. Stone lined firepits, an early form of the brick stove, are still commonly used amongChina’s ethnic minorities. People in these regions make offerings to the Firepit God. The Firepit God appeared between the Kitchen God and the Fire God in the history of Chinese folk deities. The Kitchen God appeared soon after the invention of the brick stove. The Kitchen God was originally believed to reside in the stove, and only later took on human form.

Legend has it that during the Later Han Dynasty, a poor farmer named Yin Zifang was making breakfast one day shortly before the Lunar New Year, when the Kitchen God appeared to him. Although all Yin Zifang had was one yellow sheep, he sacrificed it to the Kitchen God. Yin Zifang soon became rich. To show his gratitude, Yin Zifang started sacrificing a yellow goat to the Kitchen God every winter on the day of the divine visitation, rather than during the summer as had been customary. This is the origin of the Kitchen God Festival, or Little New Year.

There are numerous customs associated with honoring the Kitchen God and determining the date of the Kitchen God Festival, or Little New Year. The date of this holiday was sometimes assigned according to location, with people in northern China celebrating it on the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month, and people in southern China celebrating it on the twenty-fourth. The date of Little New Year was also traditionally determined according to profession. Traditionally, feudal officials made their offerings to the Kitchen God on the twenty-third, the common people on the twenty-fourth, and coastal fishing people on the twenty-fifth. The person officiating at the sacrificial rites was generally the male head of the household.

The evening before Little New Year, the image of the Kitchen God that has been overseeing the household for the past year is taken down from its position by the stove. While the image is dried in preparation for burning, offerings and firewood are prepared. The firewood may include bundles of pine, cypress, holly, and pomegranate twigs. A new image of the Kitchen God is purchased, and figures of horses and dogs are plaited out of sorghum stalks. The offerings include pig’s head, fish, sweet bean paste, melons, fruit, boiled dumplings, barley sugar, and guandong candy, a sticky treat made out of glutinous millet and sprouted wheat. Most of the offerings are sweets of various sorts. It is thought that this will seal the Kitchen God’s mouth and encourage him to only say good things about the family when he ascends to Heaven to make his report. The Kitchen God will be invited to sit in a sedan chair for his trip to Heaven. Consequently, the day before Little New Year, streets and alleyways everywhere are full of vendors selling papermache sedan chairs and paper gold and silver ingots for the Kitchen God’s journey, and singing songs in his honor.

When a family makes offerings to the Kitchen God, it is in the hopes that he will ask Heaven to protect their household. According to an old maxim, “In Heaven good deeds are reported, on Earth safety is ensured.” The new image of the Kitchen God is not pasted up until Lunar New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, in a ceremony known as “welcoming back the Kitchen God.” According to a saying from southernChina, “On the twenty-fourth day he ascends to Heaven; on New Year’s Day he returns to Earth.”

Want to do teaching Eglish jobs in China

Cai Gaoqiao, or walking on stilts, is another popular traditional performance of the Spring Festival, especially in Northern China. Cai means walking on, and Gaoqiao means stilts. According to the archives, our Chinese ancestors
began using stilts to help them gather fruits from trees. This practical use of stilts gradually developed into a kind of folk dance.

Gaoqiao performance requires high skills and varies in forms. Usually the performers tie two long stilts to their feet, making them higher than others when standing on stilts. On their “moving stage”, they are deeply loved by masses.

Most stilts used today are made from wood. There are “double stilts” and “single stilt” performances. The double stilts are usually tied to one’s shank to fully demonstrate his skill; and the single stilt is held by the performer so that he can go up and down freely. The performance can be also divided into “Wenqiao” (the civil one) and “Wuqiao” (the martial one). The former stresses appearance and amusement, while the latter emphasizes individual unique skill. Gaoqiao has now assumed strong local flavor and national color.

In Shandong Province, Gaoqiao is done at three levels, and people at the upper level stand on the shoulder of the lower ones.

In Beijing and Tianjin, performers show their high skills by jumping on one foot or going through obstacles. Some performers can even jump down from four highly-piled tables on one foot.

In Northeast China, Gaoqiao in southern Liaoning Province is the most famous. It has complete procedures and a standard form. At first, performers must “Daxiang”, that is, one stands on the shoulder of another and do a yangko dance. Then they run to change queue formations. At last, they perform in groups including pair dancing, “catching butterflies”, “fishing” and small local operas, etc.

Ethnic groups, when performing Gaoqiao, usually wear clothes of their own nationality. The Bouyei ethnic group has both double stilts and single one; the latter one, due to its simplicity, is especially loved by children. In “Gaoqiao Shuama” of the Bai ethnic group, performers are dressed like a horse. The “Two-Person Gaoqiao” of the Uygur ethnic group blends their local dance in it, which is new and fresh.

Scholars believe the Gaoqiao originates from the totem worship of primitive clans and the fishermen’s lives along the coast. Historians have proved that the Danzhu clan in the times of Yao and Shun emperors, who took the crane as their totem, walked on stilts in their sacrificing and imitated dances of the crane. Archaeologists say some oracle-bone scriptures had images of dancing on stilts.

In the ancient geography book Shanhaijing (The Book of Mountains and Seas), there is an account ofLong-LegKingdom. According to ancestors, theLong-LegKingdom was related to “walking on stilts”. From the text, readers can imagine a man walking on stilts, holding a long fishing tool to catch fish in the shallow water Jingzu fishermen along the coast ofFangcheng, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, still keep the custom of fishing this way.

Find teaching Eglish jobs in China

On the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar, don’t forget to look carefully at the summer sky. You’ll find the Cowherd (a bright star in the constellation Aquila, west of the Milky Way) and the Weaving Maid (the star Vega, east of the Milky Way) appear closer together than at any other time of the year. Chinese believe the stars are lovers who are permitted to meet by the queen of Heaven once a year. That day falls on the double seventh (Qixi in Chinese), which is China’s own Valentine’s Day.

Most Chinese remember being told a romantic tragedy when they were children on the double seventh. In the legend, the cowherd and the Weaving Maid will meet on a bridge of magpies across the Milky Way once a year. Chinese grannies will remind children that they would not be able to see any magpies on that evening because all the magpies have left to form a bridge in the heavens with their wings.

To Love and to Wait — A Romantic Legend

The legend holds that an orphaned cowherd was mistreated by his elder brother and sister-in-law, who eventually gave him an old ox and chased him out. The cowherd worked hard, and after only a couple of years he owned a small farm and house. He was lonely, however, with only the company of that faithful old ox.

One day the ox suddenly opened its mouth and talked, telling the cowherd that the heavenly Weaving Maid and her sisters were going to bathe in the Silver River. The Weaving Maid was said to be the youngest of the seven daughters of the Queen of Heaven. With her sisters, she worked hard to weave beautiful clouds in the sky.

The ox told the cowherd that he should go there to rob the Weaving Maid of her clothes while she was in the water. In exchange for the return of her clothes, she would become his wife. Surprised, the cowherd willingly followed the ox’s instructions and hid himself in the reeds at the riverbank, waiting for the girls to bathe. The girls did come as foretold. As they were splashing about and having fun, the cowherd rushed out of the reeds and grabbed the Weaving Maid’s clothing. In panic, the sisters dashed to their clothes, hurriedly put them on, and ran away.

The Weaving Maid, deprived of her clothes, stood on the riverbank and tried to cover herself with her hair as best as possible. The cowherd told her that he would not return her clothes unless she promised to be his wife. After a little hesitation and with a mixture of shyness and eagerness, she agreed to his request and they married.

The cowherd and the Weaving Maid lived happily together and had two children before the Queen of Heaven discovered the Weaving Maid’s absence. She was so annoyed she had the Weaving Maid brought back to heaven.

Seeing his beloved wife flying back to the sky, the cowherd was terrified and sad. He caught sight of the cowhide hanging on a wall. The magical ox had told him before dying of old age: “Keep the cowhide for emergency use.”

Putting the cowhide on, the cowherd, with his two children, went after his wife.

With the help of the cowhide, the cowherd was able to follow the Weaving Maid into heaven. He was about to reach his wife when the Queen showed up and pulled off her hairpin to draw a line between the two. The line became the Silver River in heaven, or the Milky Way.

The Weaving Maid went back to the heavenly workshop, going on weaving the clouds. But she was so sad and missed her husband across the Silver River so much that the clouds she weaved seemed sad. Finally, the Queen showed a little mercy, allowing the couple to meet once every year on the Silver River on the double seventh.

Magpies were moved by their true love and many of them gathered and formed a bridge for the couple to meet on the evening of Qixi.

It’s said that it’s hard to find a magpie on Chinese Valentine’s Day in China, because all magpies fly to make the bridge for the Weaving Maid and the cowherd. The one thing to prove that is the feathers on the head of the magpies are much lesser after the Chinese Valentine’s Day. And if it rains heavily on Qixi night, some elderly Chinese will say it is because the Weaving Maid is crying from happiness over meeting her husband on the Milky Way.

To Celebrate and to Pray —- Chinese Valentine’s Day Customs

The double seventh is the only Chinese festival devoted to love in the Lunar calendar. Actually, in ancient China, Qixi was not only a special day for lovers, but also for girls. As early as the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), girls began to celebrate Double Seven Festival in China. What was behind their celebration was their desire for the mastery of knitting, cooking, and home making, each of which was a must to be a fair lady at that time. As a result, girls would make tables, light candles, and present fruits in their courtyard in the hope of being blessed with these skills from the Weaving Maid. So the festival is also known as the “Begging for Needlecrafts Festival” or “Daughters’ Festival.” Although later the festival became associated with a love story, these activities survived.

1. Needlework

A girl will be more attractive to a suitor if she has talents of one kind or another in addition to being beautiful. In the old days of China, needlework was necessary as part of a girl’s dowry. Since the Weaving Maid is also an excellent seamstress, on the double seventh in ancient China, girls would hold weaving and needlework competitions to see who had the best hands and the brightest mind, both prerequisites for making a good wife and mother at that time. Just imagine, against the blue sky where the bright moon smiles, a pretty girl would thread the needle deftly…

2. Blossoms

The methods of keeping the skin fair and glowing by using blossoms have never been a secret to Chinese girls. On the double seventh, girls would put blossoms into a copper basin of water. The water, which would absorbe the essence of the blossoms, was said to be good to girls’ skin when they washed their face.

3. Singing

On the double seventh, girls would not forget to gather and sing a song called Qiqiao (Begging for Needlecrafts). The song expressed their sweet wishes of longevity for their parents and firm friendship for their “sisters.”

4. The Maid “Shrine”

Girls would also put up colorful “shrines” made of paper, fresh fruit, flowers, and incense as a tribute to the Weaving Maid and the cowherd. In some parts of Shandong Province (in East China), young women offered fruit and pastries to pray for a bright mind. If spiders were seen weaving webs on sacrificial objects, it was believed the Weaving Maid was giving a positive reply to the prayers.

5. Overhearing the Maid Crying

In the evening, people sat outdoors to observe the stars. Chinese grannies would say that, if you stood under a grapevine, you could probably overhear the Weaving Maid and the cowherd’s conversation. If you were lucky enough, they would go on telling you, you could hear the crying of the Weaving Maid.

6. Making Offerings

So many things — of joy and tears, praise and lament, hope and yearning — fall on the double seventh. In some areas in China, seven close girlfriends would gather to make dumplings. They put into three separate dumplings a needle, a copper coin, and a red date, which represented perfect needlework skills, good fortune, and an early marriage. But the festival celebrations were not confined to girls. It proved to be a day for all the people, young and old, men and women, to make offerings. It’s said if an offering were made for three straight years, the offering, or rather the wish, would come true.

7. Crop Forecast

People also saw the double seventh as an opportunity to tell whether it would be a good harvest year. If the milk river was clearly seen against the sky on the double seventh evening, it would be a good harvest year and people would enjoy crops at a low price.

8. Dolls and Puppets

As early as the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), dolls and puppets mocking adorable animals such as mandarin ducks appeared on the market around the festival. The pretty dolls, carrying their lucky signs of reproduction and beauty, found themselves quite popular among women.

9. Sun Books

The double seventh usually falls in the early August; in the past time of courtyard-style dwellings, the shining sunlight and cool air of August would voluntarily visit the yards of tens of thousands households. Under customs, ancient intellectuals would take their collection of books out to the open-air yard to give books a complete sunbath.

To Meet or to Watch —- the Stars, Vega and Altair

Star Vega — The Weaving Maid The Weaving Maid, star Vega in the Lyra constellation east of the Milky Way, is the 5th brightest star in the sky, bright enough for you to find on a summer night. It is 16 times bigger and 25 times brighter than the Sun and is 25 light years away from the Earth.

The cowherd, Altair, a bright star in the constellation Aquila west of the Milky Way, is the 11th brightest star in the sky. Altair is 4 times bigger and 11 times brighter than the Sun. It’s closer to us than the Weaving Maid, star Vega, but still, it takes 17 light years for its light to reach the Earth. The two stars next to the Altair in the Aquila constellation, Alshain and Tarazed, are said to be the cowherd’s two children he took with him when chasing the Maid to Heaven on the cowhide.

Will Vega meet Altair in the sky on the double seventh? Actually, it is 16 light years from Vega to Altair. Think of it, if the cowherd sends a telegraph on Altair to the Weaving Maid, it will reach her in 16 years. And if a magpie’s bridge for the Star Altair — The Cowherd Weaving Maid and the cowherd really exist, can you imagine how long the bridge would have to be?

Love China,or want to know more,do teaching Eglish jobs here

Chinese Valentine’s Day, or Qixi(the Qiqiao Festival )falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. This year, it is today. According to Chinese legend, a beloved couple, a cowherd and a weaver, are allowed to meet only once a year in heaven on this day.

In accordance with the legend, couples throughout the country are set to celebrate in both modern and traditional ways.

In eastern China’s Hangzhou city, the second Xiaoshan Qixi festival will mark the occasion with an evening of dance, crafts and local cuisine.

Many households in the area will place fruit outside their windows this evening to pay homage to the star Vega (the weaving maid) and a competition that involves young girls threading a needle will be held under moonlight. These activities originate from the Han Dynasty (206BC–220AD) and are widely spread in Xiaoshan.

Shanghai is also celebrating the occasion with the Lover’s Wall area on The Bund undergoing a complete renovation to give a new look to the festival. The surrounding area has been covered with marble and the fence around the wall now sports an ancient, more romantic style.

Fresh colors have added to the wall’s attractiveness with many couples choosing the location over more modern-day options to spend time with each other.

In Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, a large-scale festival will be held at the Huaqing Pool. Residents have been invited to contribute love stories, with 77 pieces, representing the seventh day of the seventh month, being read aloud. 77 couples will participate in a collective wedding ceremony, Tang Dynasty style.

Many young lovers choose Qixi, known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, to register for an official marriage licence to mark their wedding day.

People of the Miao and Li ethnic groups gather to splash water to pray for good fortune at the Qixi Festival celebration gala in Baoting Autonomous County of Li and Miao, south China’s Hainan Province, Aug. 6, 2011. The Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, falls on Aug. 6 this year. On the day, people of the Li and Miao ethnic groups here usually observe the tradtion to splash water over their lovers, express their affection through water.

Want do ESL jobs in China

In Chinese minds, the moon is associated with gentleness and brightness, expressing the beautiful yearnings of the Chinese. On the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, the moon is full and it is time to mark the Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival. The round shape symbolizes family reunion. Therefore the day is a holiday for family members to get together and enjoy the full moon – an auspicious token of abundance, harmony, and luck.

According to traditional Chinese culture, the moon is a carrier of human emotions. Ancient Chinese myth and philosophy explain why the Chinese prefer the moon.

In Chinese fairy tales, the fairy Chang E lived on the moon with a wood cutter named Wu Gang and her pet jade rabbit. In the old days, people paid respect to the fairy Chang E and her pet, the jade rabbit.

The Lady – Chang E

The story takes place around 2170 B.C. At that time, the earth had ten suns circling it, each taking its turn to illuminate the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer named Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However, his beautiful wife Chang E drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband’s tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew all they way to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he refused to shoot down the moon.

The wood cutter – Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal, so he went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and Wu Kang asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to taught him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang’s enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang’s impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

The Hare – Jade Rabbit

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead by jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit’s sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the “Jade Rabbit.”

The Customs of sacrificing the Moon

From the royalty to the populace, it is an important custom to sacrifice to and appreciate the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, sons and daughters come back to their parents’ house. Sometimes people who have settled overseas will return to visit their parents. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant moon cakes of different varieties with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea, while the little ones run around with brightly-lit lanterns. After nightfall, entire families go out under the stars for a walk or picnics, looking up at the full silver moon, thinking of their nearby relatives or friends, as well as those who are far from home. A line from a verse “The moon at the home village is exceptionally brighter” expresses those feelings. It can also be a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on riverbanks and park benches, enraptured by the brightest moon of the year.

To celebrate this sighting of the moon, red plastic lanterns wrought in traditional styles and embellished with traditional motifs are prepared for the occasion. The lanterns are made in traditional shapes such as rabbits, goldfish, carps, butterflies, lobsters and star-shaped fruits.

There is a saying in Chinese that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon. The man who does the preparing is the old man of the moon (Yue Lao). This old man, it is said, keeps as a record book with all the names of newborn babies. He is the one heavenly person who knows everyone’s future partners, and nobody can fight the decisions written down in his book. He is one reason why the moon is so important in Chinese mythology and especially at the time of the Moon Festival. Everybody, including children, hikes up high mountains or hills or onto open beaches to view the moon in the hope that he will grant their wishes.

Therefore, lovers spend a romantic night together tasting the delicious moon cake with some wine while watching the full moon. Even couples who can’t be together still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at that hour. Reams of poetry have been devoted to this romantic festival. Hopefully the Moon Festival will bring you happiness.

Contrary to what most people believe, this festival probably has less to do with harvest festivities than with the philosophically minded Chinese of old. The union of man’s spirit with nature in order to achieve perfect harmony was the fundamental canon of Taoism, so much so that contemplation of nature was a way of life.

The Moon in the Chinese aesthetics

According to the myth of the moon, Chang E drank the elixir of life and Wu Kang cut down the cassia tree which can restore itself with each blow, implying an immortal spirit of life. The moon’s waxing and waning greatly influences the Chinese lunar calendar and Chinese philosophy, in pursuit of immortal spirit of life and mysterious wisdom.

Chinese culture has something in common with the moon, always peaceful and gentle, also reflected by the modest and friendly attitudes of Chinese people which also elucidates the spirit of Chinese culture.

Flying to the Moon

With respect to the history of Chinese civilization, China is the first nation to cherish the dream of flying to the sky. From the myth of Chang’E to the Fly Apsaras of Dunhuang caves, expresses Chinese ancestors’ desire to explore outer space. Many ancient Chinese poets also showed their preference for the moon through wonderful words. For example, the poetic genius Libai wrote more than 320 poems about the moon in his lifetime.

The Chinese exploring moon project is named after Chang’E, fully expressing this pursuit of the Chinese.

ESL jobs in China

People in different parts of China celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in different ways, but one traditional custom is shared by all – eating cakes shaped like the moon.

As the name suggests, the Mid-Autumn Festival takes place in the middle of autumn. The month August was considered to be the second (or the middle) month of autumn, and the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day (the middle) of the eighth month in the lunar calendar each year. This year, the festival will take place on Sept 12.

There are many different beliefs regarding the origin of the moon cake. One theory suggests that moon cakes were originally used as vessels to pass secret messages, where people sneaked slips of paper in the filling of the pastry. Others believe that people paid respect to the lady that lived on the moon – Chang’e (along with her pet the jade rabbit) – by presenting exquisitely prepared desserts. Either way, the tradition was passed on, and the pastry has become the moon cakes we eat today.

The authenticity of either theory, or any for that matter, regarding the origin of the Moon Cake remains uncertain, but one thing is for sure – the Mid-Autumn Festival is incomplete without moon cakes.

The status of the moon cake during the Mid-Autumn Festival is equivalent to that of roasted turkey on Christmas Eve or chocolates on Valentine’s Day; it’s just indispensable.

The moon cake the must-have for any celebration of this traditional festival, not only because of its taste, but more so for its cultural and artistic connotations. With more flavors to choose from and ever-so-delicate packaging, enjoying moon cakes in the midst of fall, perhaps with a cup green tea or fragrant Chinese wine, has already become an artistic experience.

Moon cakes are round pastries commonly filled with lotus paste and seeds, red bean paste, ham or salted duck’s egg yolk. The surface of the cakes are often patterned with clouds, the moon and rabbits, each symbolic and significant for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The cakes are round, a shape that symbolizes reunions for the Chinese. Exchange of gifts among families and friends during the festival is one of the most amicable customs in China. Strolling under the gentle moon light is a good choice for the hopeless romantics. Even for the couples that are miles apart, admiring the silver moon under the same sky would emotionally pull them closer at that very hour.

The custom of eating moon cakes dates back thousands of years and is closely tied to Chinese culture and history. A considerable number of ancient Chinese poets have penned beautiful poems and writings about the festival and the cake.

So, whether you have had these delicious treats before or never even heard of them, be sure to get at least one on Sept 12. Enjoying a moon cake under the brightly lit full moon on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival is a one of a kind, emotionally fulfilling and artistically inspiring experience.

Don’t miss it.

To know more,let us do ESL jobs in China

Putting up or changing door gods, is an important custom among the Chinese during Spring Festival. Door gods are pictures of deities posted on the door outside and inside the house. They are expected to keep ghosts away, protect the family and bring peace and good fortune. They are named according to function. There is the main door god, the secondary door god, the back door god and the wing room door god.

A typical Chinese house has a huge front gate/door with two wings that open in the middle. The door gods always come in pairs facing each other. It is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back.

The image of a chubby baby is considered as a wing room door god, symbolizing good luck, longevity and fertility.

The main door god comes in several different forms. The earliest door gods were Shen Shu and Yu Lei. They were assigned to guard the entrance to heaven under a magical peach tree that grew on Mount Tu Shuo, where they either let people pass into heaven, or rejected them, based on their life’s deeds. The Jade Emperor decreed that those who had done evil should be caught, bound and thrown to the tigers. Zhong Kui the ghost-catcher was a door god in the Tang Dynasty. Strictly speaking Zhong was not a real door god but a mythical ghost-catcher and he is often called the “backdoor general”.

Nowadays, the most common door gods are Ch’in Shu-pao and Yuchi Gong, who became popular during the Yuan Dynasty. Ch’ in has pale skin and usually carries swords; Yuchi has dark skin and usually carries batons. According to a Tang Dynasty legend, the emperor ordered the two generals to guard his door while he slept to keep away a ghost that had been bothering him. With the two men standing guard at the door, the emperor slept peacefully. The next day, the emperor, not wanting to trouble his two loyal generals, called on men to hang portraits of the two men on either side of his door. Ordinary families soon adopted the imperial custom, putting woodblock prints of the ever-vigilant generals on their front gates in the hope of attracting good luck and fending off evil spirits.

The Door God business soon spread throughout China, adding other folklore heroes and mythological figures to the repertoire.

ESL jobs in China

China is the most populous country in the world. Wherever there are Chinese people, there are “dragons” regarded as mascots. For over 2,000 years, the dragon has turned from a symbol of deity, emperor and imperial power into a symbol of the rising Chinese nation. The Dragon Dance , accordingly, has been elevated from asking for God and rain to expressing people’s courage, pride and wisdom.

The Dragon Dance has diversified models and forms. The dragon is a totem of the Chinese nation. The farming tribes worship it very much. People think dragons can make clouds and bring them rain. Playing dragon dances in the spring will hopefully bring people favorable weather; playing in dry seasons will bring them rain; playing to different families will drive ghosts out. Therefore, the custom goes on.

The dragons are made into different forms, such as the cloth dragon, the grass dragon, the fire dragon and the segment dragon. The play is accordingly different. The cloth dragon has a separate dragon head and body, which is connected with cloth. The longer the dragon is, the more performers there are. One person uses a pearl-like thing to lead the dragon. The dragon will rise or fall, slowly or rapidly. Sometimes, it flies up to the sky, and sometimes it is like hiding under the ocean and breaking waves. The fire dragon is made with candles put into each section of the dragon body. When performed at night, firecrackers are set off. We see an extremely excellent scene of the fire dragon shuttling back and forth among fireworks. The grass dragon, also called “burning incense dragon”, is made from rice straw and green vines, with burning incenses inserted into it. Played during summer nights, the dragon is like a meteor attracting a lot of insects. When the play is over, the dragon is put into a pool to drown the insects. Therefore, playing with the grass dragon helps get rid of insects.

Usually, the Dragon Dance is performed by many people with specially made stage props in their hands. At first, they sing and dance, like butterflies among flowers. Then, they turn the stage props to form the head and tail of a dragon with some pieces of the lotus-like tools entering the dragon’s body. When the dragon shoots into the sky, the audience feels the elegance and uniqueness of the dance.

Find ESL Jobs in China

On the Chinese New Year, while pairs of the door gods are pasted in the center of the door, spring couplets are pasted on each side of the door and propitious words across the lintel at the top, expressing the feeling of life’s renewal and the return of spring.

It is said that spring couplets originated from “peach wood charms”, door gods painted on wood charms in earlier times. During the Five Dynasties (907-960), the Emperor Meng Chang inscribed an inspired couplet on a peach slat, beginning a custom which gradually evolved into today’s popular custom of pasting-up spring couplets.

In addition to pasting couplets on both sides and above the main door, it is also common to hang calligraphic writing of the Chinese characters for “spring”, “wealth” and blessing. Some people will even invert the drawings of “Fu” since the Chinese for “inverted” is a homonym in Chinese for “arrive”, thus signifying that spring, wealth or blessing has arrived.

Work in China,find ESL jobs in China and live in China

Just a month after the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, Chinese people have another tradition to cheer for. The second day of the second lunar month, or “Er Yue Er”, is not only considered a time for a refreshing haircut, but also the day when the dragon awakens and raises its head.

In the ancient time of China, as the temperature began to rise at this time of year, this date usually marked the end of farmers’ winter break and the beginning of a new agricultural season.

In the Song Dynasty, more than 1,000 years ago, this date was dubbed “the Festival of the Flower Goddess”. Later, in the Yuan Dynasty, people were encouraged to take spring outings around this time.

However, the idea of the dragon raising its head comes from Chinese astronomers of the Qing Dynasty.

According to their observations, a Chinese constellation of a dragon appears in the night, and the second day of the second lunar month is the time when the star that marks the horn of the astronomical dragon rises above the horizon.