Special Focus - - Contents - Zou Xin­sheng

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?

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