One of Spring's Customs: Man's Birthday
February 20, 2010 is the seventh day of the first month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, also traditionally known as "Renri," or "man's birthday." As an immemorial festival, Renri has at least a 2000 year long history in China.
Renri originated in an ancient myth recorded by Zhuangzi. The myth goes like this: there were three fairies in ancient times named Shu Emperor, Hu Emperor and Hundun. To acknowledge Hundun's hospitality, the other two fairies told him man has seven orifices which he does not have: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and one mouth to see, hear, breathe and eat with. They told him he could try to chisel his own seven orifices to become a man. So Hundun chiseled seven orifices in seven days, and man was born on the seventh day.
There are several ancient Renri customs in Southern China. People eat special soup cooked with seven vegetables and attach human images made of colorful silk and gold foil to screens or decorate their heads with them to ward off evil and calamities. Also, people will present human shaped paper cuttings to each other.
Renri is also known as Rensheng festival, which, if landing on a sunny day, will bring the fourtune of a flourishing population, good luck and peace in the New Year. A woman's pregnancy on this day was considered a great and happy event. Literary men in ancient China liked to climb mountains or go hiking this day.
Nowadays, people still keep customs like eating pancakes and the seven vegetables soup or noodles.