The first day of the first lunar month is, naturally,
Chinese New Year’s Day. One month later on the second day
of the second lunar month, the Dragon - for some mysterious
reasons - raises its head. The next comes the third day
of the third lunar month, and that is the magnificent birthday
Emperor, the common ancestor of all Han Chinese and
the founding father of the Chinese nation.
The site of the grand birthday party
This year’s lunar March 3 falls on Thursday, 19 April.
On that day the biggest birthday party ever seen in Chinese
history, according to the official media, was held at the
emperor’s birthplace in Henan
province. Yellow Emperor attended the party in person
in the form of an over 100 metre tall granite sculpture,
along with his inseparable and indispensable business partner, Red
Emperor. The two monarchs appear to be remarkably close
to each other, in fact, they share a same body and seat,
which sets an inspiring example of how colleagues can work
together harmoniously and be best mates all seasons.
With a never-failing cool expression, the Yellow Emperor
received the birthday wishes from his 3000 direct and not
so direct descendents, and watched his townsmen, the Shaolin
monks, entertaining his guests with their renowned kicks
and punches. Red Emperor also watched the whole performance,
from the beginning to the end, with an equally unfailing
cool look in his face.
One of the highlights of the party is 999 people (the
biggest yang number), who wear outfits that bore
the characters of common Chinese surnames (One Hundred
Household Surnames百家姓), bowing deep to the birthday star.
When they did so, an ocean of surname flooded the field,
paying a tribute to the one who is said to have initiated
all the Chinese surnames.
Historically, Han Chinese had used as many as 22,000 surnames,
but today there are only 3500 left, with 130 most commonly
used being shared among ninety percent of Chinese population.
Of 130, about 100 have an original root in Henan.
According to the latest study, the most popular surnames
at present are Wang (王), Li (李) and Zhang (张) - one in
every five Chinese belong to these three super clans. The
next in sequence are Liu (刘)、Chen (陈)、Yang (杨)、Huang (黄)、Zhao
(赵)、Wu (吴) and Zhou (周).
The surnames are not geographically distributed evenly
though, with Wang (王) being the most used in the north,
Chen (陈) having the strongest presence in the southern
tip, especially Guangdong and Fujian, and Li (李) rules
the regions along the Yangtze River delta.
Buildings, Old and New