Formerly known as "Shangsi Festival", the March 3rd Festival is a traditional festival observed by the Han people and a number of ethnic minority groups. In ancient times, the first Si day (according to the year numbering system by the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches) was called "Shangsi" and celebrated as a festival. Most of the time, March 3rd of the lunar calendar happened to be a Si day. So, after the Wei and Jin Dynasties, the Shangsi Festival was set on the third of lunar March and renamed "the March 3rd Festival". Originally March 3rd was more focused on religious activities to ward off disaster and keep evil spirits at bay as well as to pray for having children. The activities included sacrificial rituals in honor of Goddess Gao Mei, "Fu Xi" (a bathing ritual) and get-togethers attended by young men and women etc.
Gao Mei is the Goddess of Marriage and Childbearing. People would pray her for childbearing through sacrificial rituals. Meanwhile, "Fu Xi" was carried out to get rid of ailments by bathing. It was believed to cure women's infertility. And get-togethers through spring outings provided a chance for young men and women to get to know each other and to seek future significant others. Such gatherings were also aimed at marriage and childbearing. In addition, activities like floating eggs, dates and wine cups on the river were also held.
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