It is said that the promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter. When it comes to the Chinese character 春 (chūn), a picture of splendor of spring is visualized, which is the most original and prevalent meaning of 春 as illustrated in Xinhua Dictionary, the first Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese.
Spring, one of the four seasons, revitalizes and rejuvenates and has been sentimentalized by the Chinese over thousands of years.
As recorded in historical data, the Chinese people have celebrated the Spring Festival ( 春节 chūn jié) for more than 4,000 years, which is also known as the Chinese New Year. It is as important as the Christmas in the West. The Festival usually falls on the date near the Beginning Of Spring ( 立春 lì chūn) based on Chinese l unar calendar. The core value of the Spring Festival is to pray for blessings in the forthcoming year and reunite with family, although the particular manifestations vary regionally due to the diversity of local customs, including, but not limited to offering sacrifices to gods or ancestors, decorating windows and doors with red color paper cuts or couplets, lighting fireworks and firecrackers, and having an annual reunion dinner and staying up late on New Year’s Eve. To a certain extent, the Spring Festival has surpassed the role as a holiday, and become an influence dedicated to social stability and national prosperity.
Where there are Chinese people, there is the Spring Festival, the circumstance under which 春运 (chūn yùn) is the unique phenomenon in China. It means massive migration on
or around the Spring Festival for family reunion, which echoes with the kernel of the feast.
Furthermore, it is the wisdom of spring that inspires people to explore the new journey to finding the truth of life. “Spring is the time of plans and projects,” declared by Leo Tolstoy, which is generally akin to the Chinese proverb, “一年之计在于春, 一日之计在于晨” (yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn, yī rì zhī jì zài yú chén) “plan one’s year in spring and one’s day at dawn.”
Not only does the brilliance of spring bloom in the East, but also in the West. Easter, a prominent western traditional holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, commences in the spring time, which coincides with the distinctive feature of spring’s revitalization. Spring takes center stage in William Shakespeare’s poetry such as the Sonnet98and
Spring , in which Shakespeare interpreted spring from an insightful perspective. “Do paint the meadows with delight” quoted from Spring showcases the earth is decorated with charming spring scenery, full of vigor and delights.
Chinese people’s appreciation of the character 春 goes far beyond that. Besides spring, it also refers to wine and love. For instance,
春杯 ( chūn bēi) means utensil for wine; 怀春 (huái chūn) have thoughts of love.
The Chinese character 春symbolizes the fragrant blossoms that bloom in the kaleidoscope of Chinese culture. If we heeded the advice of Samuel Johnson and “paused a while from learning to be wise” in the bustling world, would we stop and smell the fragrance of spring’s flowers?