Preserve Chinese Tradition

2010-09-12 05:08:28

 Many people worry about the decline of Chinese tradition and custom. Rendering legal status for traditional festivals such as the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Qingming Festival that helped to unite the Chinese nation for hundreds of years, seemed to be critical to better preserving cultural heritage and promoting national values.
 However, current customs to observe traditional Chinese festivals get more and more simplified and the old rituals are gradually gone. For some people, festivals only mean the symbolic foods, such as wrapped glutinous rice for the Dragon Boat Festival or moon cake for the Mid-Autumn Festival. The growing popularity of Western holidays in China is primarily attributed to the weakening cultural elements in China's traditional holidays. If we fail to better protect our own traditional culture, we will be culturally defeated in the coming era of globalization. We must preserve core values of our tradition and customs. For example, the two quite essential elements deemed as time-tested core values for the Chinese New Year are the norm of the reunion dinner and visiting relatives and close friends, as encapsulated in the Chinese New Year spirit, displaying the supreme importance of the family in Chinese culture, and strong sense of togetherness and cohesion.
 Even though most Chinese are running after a "modern" lifestyle these days, many of them still cherish "tradition" when it comes to festivals. Banning the fireworks is controversial and I am personally for the ban. However, many people argue that setting off fireworks and firecrackers is a long-standing common practice and an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations. To them, a Chinese New Year without fireworks is like Christmas without Christmas trees to many Westerners. They even warn that banning the fireworks will greatly curb the attractiveness of this all-important festival, as such noises are the sounds of people embracing and enjoying their ancient culture.
 Culture and tradition involve many small, delicate and sometimes intangible things, and their influence is subtle. But they play a substantive role in molding our minds and influencing our ways of life. We must admit that the monotony of celebrating the festivals has also bored people. Our tradition should be nurtured on the three layers of culture: academic culture, popular culture and folk or traditional culture, through diversified activities.
 It is great to see the youth now participate in an educational curriculum that helps them foster this traditional culture in all subjects including calligraphy, painting, opera and martial art.
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张力平,IT行业资深分析师。Zhang Liping, aka Sevencastles,a senior analyst in IT industry and the owner of Seven Castles,'a Shanghai blog featuring news and views of great interest'.