The Chinese Spring Festival starts from Chinese New Year’s Eve. Festive activities such as parades, parties, visiting friends, etc. last for a few weeks. Children are especially looking forward to these holidays. They wear new outfits for the occasion and receive red envelopes with lucky money from adults. The children are allowed to play games and set off firecrackers for fun. Parades with lions and dragons are the must. Lions are believed to drive the devils away as the Dragon would bring raining for a good harvest in the coming year. The Spring Festival ends on the 15th day of the First Month in the lunar calendar and is called the Lantern Festival. Children and adults carry lanterns and dance on the street until mid-night. The tradition can be traced back 10,000 years, to when the Chinese tribesmen settled down to grow crops. Spring was determined as the right season to plan for a bumper harvest.
Anthropologists accounted that about 70,000 years ago, homo sapiens left Africa and immigrated to Asia and Europe. They were wandering as nomads across the continents. Then agriculture was first invented separately in the Middle East and China about 10,000 years ago. As a proof, grains of 8,000 year and older were unearthed in China. Between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago was the New Stone Age in which the hunters and fruit gatherers became villagers to grow crops. Because of settling down, people had time to develop arts and craft. The most ancient civilizations were developed independently along the world's great rivers: Egypt's Niles, India's Ganges, Euphrates and Tigris in Middle East, and China's Yellow River and Yangtse River. In China, 7,000-year old earthen pots were discovered in various locations. The pottery was of course for cooking the grains, concluded Alice Robert, an English anthropologist. Samples of 3,000-year old silk fabric were found in an ancient grave. Chinese silk was a precious commodity in Rome even before the birth of Christ. The Chinese silk opened the famous Silk Road between China and Europe through the Middle East. The Silk Road was one of the very important routes of trading and cultural exchanges in the ancient world.
According to Jocab Bronowski (author of The Ascent of Men), agriculture is the single most important step in the history of ascent of man. Because of people settling down, surplus food could be accumulated and created the rich and the poor classes. Good or evil, it all started from the nomads settling down to build a village, then a city, then a nation. Then, they started stealing from each other; thus wars were invented too. People have been fighting for controlling the land and other resources continuously up to the present. The world civilization is only 10,000 years old and started from the date of invention of agriculture. The next important step in human history probably is the invention of scientific method that resulted the industrial revolution a few hundreds of years ago. The advancement of the technology is at the expense of global warming.
Joseph Needham (1900-1995), a member of Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Science (once chaired by Isaac Newton), an accomplished biochemist and archeologist, called the ancient civilizations "river cultures" as major cultures were developed independently along the world's four great rivers. He analogized the modern civilization to "ocean culture," as all rivers flow toward the ocean and become one giant melting pot. Silicon Valley is one great example of the ocean culture, and CPAA is proud to call the annual celebration "Spring Festival Silicon Valley." There are good and bad parts in any culture. We believe that spring celebration is a good part of the Chinese culture in which we commemorate our ancestors cultivating food from nature. After generations and generations, the spring celebration has become the most important and most joyous occasion of the year. It depicts a new beginning of each year and brings good wishes and hope to the people. This tradition was introduced to other Asians like Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, many centuries ago. Now in the 21st Century, one-quarter of humanity is celebrating the spring to hope for a better future. As one of the most ancient legacy in human history, the Spring Festival has indeed a universal and timeless value.
CPAA has presented the Spring Festival Silicon Valley (SFSV) celebration since 2009 with a colorful production in a formal theater. CPAA, known for its creativity in the production of high artistic spectacles, will work with many local art groups to present the annual SFSV, a variety show of dance, music, kung fu, magic, acrobatics, and drama. Especially, our spectacular fluorescent 60’ Dragon has entertained audiences of all ages and different cultural backgrounds since 2000, the Year of the Dragon at the turn of the Millineon. Besides a full-scale production SFSV Gala, we also organize international competitions to promote international culture exchange, multi-cultural outdoor fair, performances for local schools, private companies, churches, museums, etc. Our goal is to establish the Asian Spring Festival similar to Christmas, joy to the world. For this, we have organized the International Arts Council – Silicon Valley as an international arm of CPAA. Through artistic expression, CPAA’s annual Spring Festival Silicon Valley truly celebrates the Asian New Year as well as America's diversity and inclusiveness that make America great and strong.