China is wonderous and awe-inspiring. It has a history of five thousand years. It is the only continuous ancient civilization. Other ancient civilizations have changed, discontinued, withered or perished. Why is it so enduring? Why is it so coherent, often sticking to itself, remaining undivided? Why is it so dynamic, always able to revive, regenerate and revitalise itself? Why is it an immortal phoenix able to rise again on its ashes? These are enduring questions. Nobody can give a complete answer, full stop. They will stimulate intellect, provoke interest, engage investigation. > read more
Chinese Customs & Festivals
In much of the countryside, Spring Festival is still the term used for New Year's Day. The year of 2008 marked the start of the "Year of the Rat" according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
Poet Li Bai
Li Bai (701-762) was born in Suiye in Central Asia. His ancestors had been banished there by the Sui rulers. At five-years-old, Li Bai moved to Sichuan with his father, who was probably a rich merchant. When young, he studied not only Confucian classics, but also works of other schools. In his twenties, he first traveled far and wide in Sichuan, and then he started a long journey to Central, East and North China.
There is an interesting folktale about how the order of the 12 animals was determined. Once upon a time, the 12 animals quarreled about the order of the cycle. Because everyone wanted to take the lead, no decision was made. Finally the animals agreed to ask the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods in Chinese mythology, to decide the order. The emperor decreed to hold a competition. The animals would run across a river and each animal’s position in the cycle would be set by its place in the race.
Revised June 20, 2011