Renri – Everyone’s birthday (人日)

The 7th day of the Chinese New Year is known as Renri (人日, 人慶節 or 七元節), literally the Everyone’s birthday. According to Chinese folklore, Nǚ wā (女媧) is the goddess who created the world. She created the animals, human beings and grains on different days. Renri was the day human beings were created. The days on which different animals and grains were created are:

1st Day : chicken ;  2nd Day : dog ;  3rd Day : pig ;  4th Day ;  sheep ;  5th Day : cow ;  6th Day : horse ;  7th Day : human being ;  8th Day : grains (穀)

People celebrate renri as part of the CNY. Fireworks (花炮) are lit. Foods like “seven-vegetable congee” (七菜粥 ), “jidi congee” (及第粥) or “seven-colour sliced raw fish” (七彩魚生) are common to celebrate the occasion.

 

jidi congee (及第粥)
jidi congee (及第粥)

 

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seven-colour sliced raw fish (七彩魚生)

 

A poem related to renri.

人日思歸  薛道衡 (540 CE – 609)(南北朝人)

入春才七日, 離家已二年。人歸落雁後, 思發在花前。

(意譯) 入春只有七天, 我離家已經有兩年。回家的日子要等待春回大地雁群從南方北飛回來之後,但春天花開之前我已經回家的念頭了。

(Meaning in English) It is only the 7th day of the CNY but I have already left home for two years. I will return home after spring arrives when the wild geese flying back to the north.  I thought of going home well before the spring flowers blossom.

 

Further readings :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renri

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%BA%BA%E6%97%A5 (人日)

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%96%9B%E9%81%93%E8%A1%A1 (薛道衡)

 

 

 

 

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