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Yellow Emperor’s Birthday Party

21 April 2007

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 of Yellow 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.

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City Heart Beat Heard Again

The sound of city heart beat fallen silent for a hundred years has reverberated in the ancient capital Xian where First Emperor Qin's underground palace and his terra-cotta warriors reside.

The warriors arrived on the bell tower to make the city’s heart beat heard.

Since 22 April, giant bronze bell boomed out 24 at 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm each day.

The tradition can be traced back to the age when Monk Tang – Monkey King’s alleged Buddhist master - departed for his journey to India for a spiritual treasure hunt a thousand years ago.


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