How do Kunming people celebrate Spring Festival?


Like other places in China, people in Kunming attach great importance to Chinese New Year. As the festival is just around the corner, every family is doing special purchases for the New Year, cleaning their houses and buying new clothes. Chinese New Year is the busiest time of the year, the beginning of a new year, and a good time for family reunion.


Doing special purchases is the most important job to do to celebrate Chinese New Year. Kunming people are used to buying meats, vegetables, fruit, pastries and candies. A large number of erkuai and swelled candy rice are also indispensable. Except food, people buy firecrackers, candles, Spring Festival Couplets and portraits of door-gods. What is distinct in Kunming is that pine leaves and pine branches are also required.

Before the New Year's Eve dinner, people scatter pine leaves on the ground and insert pine branches in the yard and in front of the door. This custom is a symbol of peace in a new year and is only existed in Kunming.


An essential dish on the table of the New Year Eve’s dinner in Kunming is “long dish” (“chang cai” in Chinese pinyin, also called mixed dish). It carries the meaning of abundance and forever. People put Chinese cabbages, tofu, garlic sprouts, Chinese chives, vermicelli, saltedmeat and crispy meat into a pot and boil them together. Kunming people usually eat all kinds of erkuai with a pot of “long dish” soup during the Spring Festival. There are fried erkuai, boiled erkuai and sweet erkuai.

Before the dinner, Kunming people first worship the gods and ancestors. Vegetables and fish are the dishes that must be offered to ancestors, which indicate that clear up the bills and still have a surplus.


Next part is setting off firecrackers and pasting Spring Festival Couplets. The sound of burning firecrackers is not supposed to break off because it means interrupting the luck in making big money.      

Only after doing these things can people seat down to have dinner. New Year's Eve dinner is filled with dazzling dishes. A whole fish, representing abundance, is indispensable on the table while other dishes are uncertain. Traditional dishes include “long dish”, Chinese rice pudding, a whole fish, a whole chicken, fried erkuai and so on.

After the dinner, people use a sugarcane root to prop against the door and start to stay up late or all night on New Year's Eve. Staying up late on New Year’s Eve is a tradition that all family members sit down and communicate with each other after a busy year. (Photos from "吃喝学堂微公号")

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(Editors: Lexi, Christine)

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