外文标题：Homeward Bound......................Part 5
In front of the garden there was a pond and a wooden walk bridge running over it. The pond was full of fish. I think they are Koi fish which the Chinese say live up to two hundred years. I also think that these fish are considered sacred in Buddhism, because you find them in the ponds in Buddhist temples and monasteries, or the Chinese don’t eat them, otherwise it’s impossible to imagine the Chinese letting so many fish live. The place still has the ancient buildings and the aura of history around it. The old wooden structures have been replenished and refurbished but their umbilical connection with the past hasn’t been severed.
On 8th of February, as my wife got busy in the shops selling trinkets, I headed for capturing in my camera some moods of the people busy shopping for the New year.
The festive exuberance danced on everything like butterflies in spring and why shouldn’t it have after all it was a spring festival time. Winter in most parts of China is harsh. When man learned to live on this planet, the changing seasons, lightning and thunder, rains and snows scared him but the sun brought the promise, the assurance that he would surmount odds and live to see another summer, another day. In spite of having no knowledge of astronomy, the movement of the celestial objects, he learned to predict the pattern of movement of the sun the most important celestial object from him through zodiac with remarkable accuracy. Thus even with no communication between each other each race learned to predict the winter solstice (when the sun appears at it’s lowest altitude) accurately. How important was it for him can be judged from the fact that it is celebrated, has been celebrated by human race all over the world since times immemorial. This of course was a day of jubilation for him for it rekindled his hope that he would live past the gory winter and that the summer of rich harvest will come again.
Chinese also celebrate winter solstice festival called “Dong Zhi”. They eat dumplings and glutinous rice balls. This is also considered to be the best time for herbal festivals and tonics.
Spring festival is a harbinger of hope. It’s a festival of thanking God for giving strength, perseverance and courage that pulled the people through another winter. It is to usher the spring. The Spring Festival comes on the first day of Chinese Lunar Calendar and lasts for almost a month. In folk custom, this traditional holiday lasts from the 23rd day of the twelfth month to the 15th day of the first month which is celebrated as 'Lantern Festival'. It is said to have originated during Shang Dynasty ( about 17th to 11th Century B.C.) and the custom of celebrating the festival started with the offerings of sacrifice to the ancestors. I do not know if any animals are rituallistically sacrificed these days but I think the use of red colour for making lanterns, buntings, gifts, doilies has something to do with it.
As is traditional in India, every year before Diwali people scrub and clean their houses so is it in China too before the Spring Festival the whole house is thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed and old things are discarded. I am not sure if worshipping of deities has any connection with India but they do worship the deities during the festival. Since Buddhism came to China from India, so many customs and rituals seem similar to me with those performed back by our people in India. People hold all kinds of ceremonies to welcome the spring. There are many legends about the festivals but in all those legends there is a story of a monster who would come every year and destroy the crops and kill the people. In every legend it is claimed to have been found by one wise old man or the other that the monster was afraid of red colour and the noise. So from here came in the ritual of using making artifacts of red colour and of bursting fire crackers.
Spring Festival in Chinese is called “guonian” (meaning “passing a year”) “Nian” (year) was the name of that strong monster fierce and cruel who ate animals and human beings and destroyed the crops.
Chinese Plum flowers buds appear towards the end of winter. They are thus considered to herald spring. The flower is known as meihua (梅花) in Chinese which when translated would mean "plum blossom” but the fruit is neither plum nor apricot. In Japan the onset of spring is heralded by blossoming of a fruit that is more of an apricot then plum and is known as Sakura.
Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying viewing of flowers during the spring. How beautiful it will be to be in Japan for Hanami?
The second part of this blog is not sound like you, did you just post some wikipedia thing? Any way, enjoyed reading your blogs.
I do watch many indian movies, these days, one problem concerning me the most is that do you have any movies show the real life of ordinary people. There seems to have two indias to me, the real one and the bollywood one. There are two pop words in China can be used to describe indian movies 高帅富 (tall/handsome/rich) meets 白富美 (white/ rich/ beautiful),and they fall in love. And, there always a bad guy and a funny one.
Interesting thought Uni! :)) I have quite a few chinese frds who watch indian movies and comment on it.. They too talk abt d funny one :))
Loved your pictures Navneet.. and I too feel you need not have confused with the plum blossoms in Japan when you were talking about China..
Unil，你的想法很有趣 :) 我也有许多中国朋友，他们有看电影，看完后少不了评论一番，当然也会谈到搞笑角色 :)
Thanks Divya- I didn't confuse between plum blossom of China and Sakura of Japan. In fact the picture that I came across of Sakura in Japan was so beautiful that I decided to share it with my friends.
The Plum blossoms, the Sakura flowers and the snow capped mountain stole my heart.
For a change I chose to enjoy the beauty of nature presented by you as it was captivating.
Yes thanks for presenting the beauty of China.Your blogs give us such a detailed panorama of the country
Lovely pictures and lovely write up- as usual I enjoyed it thoroughly
Navneet just a thought came to my heart- yes china was great, but fir bhi dil hai hindustani- right!!!!!
Yes Indeed Vijay- Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani. When I write about China, compare or show the contrast, my heart cries for my country. I know it is as beautiful, the people, it's natural beauty, enchanting history, heritage, diverse culture, the wisdom, spirituality, there's a lot that attracts the world to her shores, but the power has been usurped by the corrupt, the undeserving, greedy politicians and the malaise has seeped down to the roots of the society- what India is today is not what India was when we were kids..that's why it hurts and an occasional tear trickles down the cheeks.
While I was searching for a picture of "plum blossom"- I came across this immensely beautiful picture of Japan and I thought, it must adorn my blog. If I could ever meet the one who took this picture, I would like to shake hand with him/her.
Sailor Uncle, there comes a blog from you about China.
Thanks Ashu- Still many more to come.
I just took it for granted, my apology.
Speaking of plumblossom, it's the city flower of Nanjing city (where I live), even the logo of Nanjing metro is plumblossom.
And sakura, it's in fact originated from China. In my blog, I will post some pics of Nanjing, hope you can enjoy them.
Navneetji, fabulous blog with equally great photos. So much information!!!! Nice to read yet another nice blog from you on China. My heart cries for my country!!! Hillol
My heart cries too Hillol and my blood boils.
It was something like pictorial calender of China with all those pictures of blossoms/sakura.Everything looks to be so good in China and most of the credit goes to you for writing so much on this country and your blogs were visual delight. Yes like you, I too feel that why our country with so much of natural beauty and colorful communities cannot project her self as many other,even smaller countries can do. ?
Thanks Karor Ji- Things are beginning to change in India too but for a drastic change to come, our attitude must change. We should put nation before self, something which was there in our forefathers but is not there anymore.
Janani janmbhoomi swargadapi griyasi
I am a new comer here from a small town, Hai’an, a county under the jurisdiction of Nantong, which is about 1 hours drive from TaiZhou. I happened to see your blog from a Chinese BBS, Tianya, which I think someone mentioned here. I went through some of the blogs you post and the pictures you shown. Thanks for showing the bright side of China, and of course, some friends like Sunkan also shown some bad side of my country which reminds me that dirty is not far from us in China.
I don’t know if I understand you correctly. The purpose you show your praise to China is mainly trying to wake up Indians to become more self-disciplined and responsible not only to themselves but the society. We are facing the same issues in China actually, but situation becomes better due to the education and the tradition which encouraged and strengthened by the current gov. It seems that one-party is the best solution now we can find for China now. 20 to 30 years fast progress causes a lot of problems in the society and many of them are hidden behind the glory of progress. China still needs more time to find and fix such problems, but as you have been seen in Gaogang, things become better and better. Hope someday, all around China will become a place as your pictures show.
India and China actually are similar to each other, big and fast progressing. The experience China got will definitely helps India and vice versa. We should be friend not hostile to each other. Btw, welcome to Hai’an.
Dear FYI LU- Thanks for an excellent understanding of the purpose of my blog posts,the ground realities, the problems before the two nations and the degree of success China has achieved and India is striving for. You have done a very right assessment of the factors that have contributed to the rapid progress of China and the problems that have cropped up because of it. I won't like to attribute the credits to Party or the single Party government that has ruled China ever since the revolution but this probably was the best solution for bringing the Chinese together. However one party system becomes too hectoring and voice of dissent is bound to rise no matter how sincere are the personal holding the positions of power, they being human are not infallible, beyond corruption and nepotism. On the other hand multi-party system has it's own disadvantages, It slows growth, incites corruption and because of frequent change of guard at the centre, the projects suffer, get shelved and delayed and as a result the whole nation suffers. At the end of the day the results matter. I would say that any system of governance that delivers result is a good system.
Thanks for the fast reply. I am in the US now. Otherwise, I will invite you to my hometown, Hai’an, it is beautiful and I am proud of her. I will of course be the guide and the translator.
Indian is a great nation. Many of my schoolmates are from India. They are eager for knowledge, though some of them try to stay in the US like we Chinese, :)), but I saw their care of their family and how united they are. Indians they will share information and knowledge and help each other which I should say that Chinese’s are somewhat lack of. I have once been to Dubai and have the chance to meet some Indian works, they all work hard, and they are worth of being respected.
印度是一个伟大的国家。我的许多同学来自印度，他们求知若渴。有一些人跟我们中国人一样想留在美国 :) ，我发现他们很顾家很团结。他们会分享信息和交流知识，互相帮助，这点是中国人的不足。