Spring Festival in the Book of Rites


In the Book of Rites, Miscellaneous Records, there is a story between Confucius and his disciples: one day in winter, Zi Gong went to watch the wax sacrifice, which is the sacrificial activity held at the end of each year to offer sacrifices to all the gods.After watching, Confucius asked Zi Gong, “Do you see the joy of the people?”Zi Gong replied, “All the people in the whole country are crazy with joy. I don’t know what there is to be happy about.”Hearing his disciple’s words, Confucius inspired Zi Gong by asking him, “People have worked hard for a whole year to enjoy the blessing of the wax festival, and this joy is beyond your comprehension.”The “wax offering” involved in this record is a very important activity in the traditional Spring Festival. The Classic Book of Rites also describes the understanding and practice of the Spring Festival of the ancients in the pre-Qin period in a very detailed and rich way.Spring Festival is the yuan point of time, the so-called festival, that is, a nation in the natural time to divide the life period of humanity mark.Through festivals, human beings establish a cyclical rhythm that is coordinated between nature and society, so that daily life has a set of order that not only conforms to natural laws but also contains human needs.Furthermore, this system, which is based on time, has a starting point on the axis of time.This yuan point, in China, is the midnight of New Year’s Eve.Is the so-called beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the day, when the beginning.In fact, this is in line with the unique characteristics of the Chinese nation as an agricultural nation: the natural cycle of crops determines the time consciousness of the Chinese nation.In this cycle year after year, the Chinese nation finally established the Spring Festival as a meta-point in the collective time consciousness, so that the life order of the whole nation can be firmly established, which is the most important “time consciousness” in the national consciousness.At the same time, human beings must live within a certain range of space.For every Chinese, the core is family.In China’s social organization, family is the cell that undertakes the most basic, most important, warmest and most stable social function.Mencius once said, “The root of the world is in the state, and the root of the state is at home.”The ancients used to compare and satisfy their space imagination of the whole country and even the world with the family, so the weight of the family in the heart of the Chinese nation is heavy, so every Spring Festival must return home to reunite, and the space of the yuan point is established because of the festival.It is at such an important starting point of time that people return to the space one after another, which is of extraordinary significance. The flood of emotion contained in each household converges into the sacred carnival time of the Chinese nation — The Spring Festival.This is why “a nation is mad”.The Book of Rites contains a large number of rituals and customs related to the Spring Festival.It is said that the book of Li Ji was successively compiled by dai De and Dai Sheng, ritual scholars of the Western Han Dynasty, and was divided into Dai Li Ji and Xiao Dai Li Ji. Later versions of The Book of Li Ji are mainly Xiao Dai Li Ji.The book is a collection of 49 essays on Confucian rites.Liang Qichao, a famous scholar in modern times, commented on the value of The Book of Rites in this way: “Besides the Analects of Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi, the two books of Rites are the most important ones to know the fundamental thought of Confucianism and its transformation.The Book of Rites has many aspects, so it has a wide range of research materials.Therefore, to understand the customs of the ancient Spring Festival, the Book of Rites is an excellent reference material.At that time, whether official or folk, Spring Festival sacrifice was regarded as a very solemn and repeated performance activities.The lunar calendar called the twelfth month “la Yue”, it is in this month for a grand “wax offering”.There is there in The Book of Rites · Month There: “There is Month, big drink.Tianzi is pray next year in Tianzong, big cut temple in the commune and gate lu.La ancestors five qi, farmers to rest.”During this month, the emperor and his court officials would hold a banquet at the Imperial College, drink wine together and offer sacrifices to the ancestral temple.In this process, the son of heaven prayed to the sun, moon and stars for good weather and a bumper harvest in the coming year, and ordered people to slaughter and cut up the bodies of livestock to offer sacrifices to the earth god, the gates and inner gates.With the animals obtained by the field hunt for the door, door, 霤, kitchen, line five sacrificial worship, at the same time the court also comfort farmers, so that they can rest, a ceremony launched by the official and civilian “carnival” slowly opened.As for the specific sacrificial procedures, it is written in the Book of Rites: “The Emperor daxao ba.Yizhi beginning for wax, wax also, cable also.Twelve years old, together with all things and draw also.Wax offerings: the master and the priest add.Offerings to add to the sik.For farmers and mailing table 畷, animals, benevolence to, righteousness also do.The ancient gentleman, make it return.”The big wax sacrifice presided over by the son of Heaven, offering a total of 8 kinds of gods.From the beginning of the Age, the wax sacrifice was born.The meaning of the word wax, from the etymology is to ask the meaning, because according to the ancient sound “wax” and “cable” alliteration, pronunciation similar.Specific process, namely weekly calendar year in December, when the end of farming, people rest, gather all things, ask its gods for a good life sacrifice.The gods of the wax festival mainly include xian (Sik sik), who originated agriculture, and si (sik Sik), who was in charge of farming.To offer sacrifices to the Valley god is to repay the harvest efforts of Xian sik and Si Sik sik.They also offered sacrifices to the gods of the field officials, to the gods of the fields and leaves, and to animals and animals including tigers and cats.From the point of view of gratitude, it can be said that I have done my utmost.This precisely reflects the Confucian spirit represented in the Book of Rites: the ancient gentleman must reciprocate to the gods that were beneficial to the crops.In addition to the solemn sacrifices, there was a merry feast and entertainment.”The Book of Rites · Suburb Special features” says: “The way to become smooth, its wax is also through immigration.”Chen Ho, a scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty, has a brilliant explanation: “People’s wealth can be used to ease and ease the growth and prosperity.The party is drinking wine for the people.Although the beginning with ritual and its diet drunk, then also longitudinal its hanchang for joy.The teacher said that the benefits of a day are also. The farmer works hard all the year round, and at this time he can enjoy the happiness of a day, which is the good pleasure of the farmer.”This actually shows us a very vivid scene: after a huge field hunt, the food for the sacrifice and the slaughter of animals are provided by each household.This offering, after the wax sacrifice, was enjoyed by the whole population and was undoubtedly a feast.The offerings of the wax offering were boiled into porridge and eaten by the people.This kind of dining scene accords with the people’s life under the historical conditions at that time.They will produce their own agricultural products and small animals and birds caught in the field as sacrifices to the gods, on the one hand to celebrate the harvest, on the other hand to repay the gods protection.So the sacrifice will have a supreme sense of sanctity, and become all the people living in the land of the carnival.No wonder Confucius pointed out that “Zhang and not chi, wenwu fu can also;Relaxation and not zhang, Wenwu fu is also;A relaxation, wenwu also.”Busy all day, rarely get together, laugh and drunk, and then return to daily.The rhythm of life and work is full of precious flexibility.Offering sacrifices to the kitchen is also a very important Custom during the Spring Festival.”The Book of Rites · sacrificial law” in the clear provision: “the king is a group of family name li seven qi: yue Division, yue 霤, yue gate, yue guo, Yue Tai li, yue household, yue kitchen.”And stressed that “ordinary people, the concubines of a qi, or household, or kitchen.”It can be seen that sacrificial offerings are regardless of rank, rank and class, and sacrificial oven is the most common and universal sacrificial dish.The target of the sacrifice is naturally the kitchen god, which has a long history.According to the Book of Rites and Vessels, “The old woman’s sacrifice is also held in a basin and honored in a bottle.”Thus, it can be roughly judged that in the pre-Qin period, offering sacrifices to the kitchen was a sacrificial activity for women.Serving food in POTS and wine in bottles to repay the kitchen God for his contribution to people’s diet.According to the ancient ritual rules, the wax ceremony of “common people and ordinary people” can only offer sacrifices to one god, or to the household god, or to the kitchen God. However, from the practical operation, it is common among the people to offer sacrifices to the kitchen God, so it has been continued up to now.The book of Rites and Records of Music says, “Music is the sum of heaven and earth.Ritual, the order of heaven and earth also.And, so everything is changed;Order, so the group is different.”As an important tradition of the Chinese nation, the Spring Festival originated in a long time, matured in a long time, and has continuity, inheritance and holiness. In the form of “people in a country are crazy”, the Chinese people gather together more deeply, moistening things silently to achieve the realm of “all things are changed” and “group of things are different”.Tradition was sown in the past, but today, even though the years are long and the metabolism is long, it is still the collective memory and psychological demand of every Chinese people to catch their breath in the fast pace and seek warmth in the tense and busy life.In other words, no matter how new social life is, it also needs the old traditions. The Spring Festival, which is enshrined in the Book of Rites, will surely endure and be fresh and warm for generations of Chinese people.The writer is a professor of Literature and history at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee (National School of Governance)

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