|Sunday is the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month which Chinese call Xiaonian or Preliminary Eve. (Xinhua)|
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the 23rd day of the 12th month is Xiao Nian Festival. Xiao Nian, literally means "small new year. This year, it falls on Sunday, February 3rd. On this day, people clean their houses and do their New Year shopping.
The Yangs have just returned from the market. Candles and incense have been lit, food has been offered. The Kitchen God had been waiting for his ritual offerings, before his departure.
On the 23rd of the last month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the Kitchen God is scheduled to fly up and see the Jade Emperor, ruler of heaven. He will be asked to report on how mortals have behaved over the past year. The Jade Emperor then decides the fortune of each family on the basis of this report.
Yang Shanyun said, "We offer sweets and fruit to the Kitchen God, hoping he says something sweet for us and blesses our family."
Sweets vendors couldn't be happier, especially those selling glutinous sweets called Tang Guaer, which are believed to glue the mouth of the Kitchen God closed, lest he report unfavorably to the Jade Emperor.
On this Festival, it is also the tradition to do some cleaning around the house, decorating it with paper cuttings, pictures and festive mascots.
And what is a Chinese festival without a dragon parade? The dragon winds up the street, just in time for the New Year.
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