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Archive for the 'Chinese Holidays' Category

Dōngzhì Festival: Celebrate Winter Solstice in China

The Dōngzhì Festival in China, also called the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival, is one of the most important and popular holidays in China. Some argue it’s actually more important than the Chinese New Year!

In this article, you’ll learn about Chinese Winter Solstice traditions and why this holiday was significant in the past.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Winter Solstice?

Essentially, the Chinese Winter Solstice is a time to prepare for the New Year and spend time with family and loved ones.

In Chinese tradition, there’s a saying that says Winter Solstice is more important than the Lunar New Year. That is because ancient China was an agricultural community, and cultivation had to be done according to the season.

Why do the Chinese celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Chinese people observed astronomy and the laws of nature, and found that the Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. After that day, the daytime gradually becomes longer, and spring comes as winter fades away. Hence, the start of a new year actually starts on Winter Solstice instead of the Lunar New Year.

As a matter of fact, in the past, Winter Solstice was said to have been New Year’s Day. No wonder that in the south of the Yangtze River, there’s a saying: “You will be one year older after having the Winter Solstice dinner.”

2. When is the Dōngzhì Festival?

Frosty Winter Scene

Each year, the Winter Solstice occurs somewhere between December 21 and 23.

3. How the Chinese Celebrate Winter Solstice

Family Getting Together

1- Chinese Winter Solstice Traditional Food

Okay, so first things first: What do people eat on Winter Solstice?

People in the North eat dumplings during the Winter Solstice. Dumplings are a very popular folk food with a long history in China. There’s a saying that “there is no better food than dumplings.”

In many places, there’s a custom of eating lamb during the Winter Solstice Festival. Since China enters its coldest time after Winter Solstice, traditional Chinese doctors regard lamb as a food that can help people tonify Yang (an aphrodisiac effect) and make the body strong.

Eating Tangyuan is another traditional custom for Winter Solstice and is particularly popular in southern China. Tangyuan is also called Tangtuan (gnocchi) or Tuanzi (dumpling) and is a dessert made from glutinous rice flour. The character yuan (round) indicates reunion and that something is perfectly successful. There’s a saying among the people that “you will be one year older once you eat Tangyuan.”

2- Counting Nine

There’s also the custom of “counting nine.” In the lunar calendar, ancient Chinese people created a way to count days in winter: starting from the Winter Solstice day that begins with the “first nine,” to the “ninth nine.” There’s an old saying: “During the time of the first and second nine, you don’t put your hands out of your coat; on the third and fourth nine, you can skate on the ice…” Finally, after eighty-one days, the cold winter is gone.

4. Dumplings and Frostbite

During the Chinese Winter Solstice, dumplings are a longtime favorite food! Do you know why the custom of eating dumplings was handed down in northern China?

Eating dumplings during the Winter Solstice Festival is to commemorate an ancient doctor named Zhang Zhongjing, who is thought to have invented dumplings. Because the dumpling soup he made had successfully cured the frostbitten ears of many people, a saying was born: “If you don’t eat dumplings at Winter Solstice, your ear will be frostbitten.”

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for the Chinese Winter Solstice

Glutinous Rice Ball

Here’s the essential Chinese vocabulary you should know for the Chinese Winter Solstice!

  • 馄饨 (húntun) — Wonton dumpling
  • 冬天 (dōngtiān) — Winter
  • 合家团聚 (héjiā tuánjù) — Family reunion
  • 糯米团子 (nuòmǐ tuánzi) — Glutinous rice ball
  • 桂花酒酿圆子 (guìhuā jiǔniàng yuánzǐ) — Glutinous rice balls in sweet osmanthus and glutinous rice wine
  • 和家人吃冬至团圆饭 (hé jiārén chī dōngzhì tuányuánfàn) — Have dinner with family on Winter Solstice evening
  • 午夜阳光 (wǔyè yángguāng) — Midnight sun
  • 极夜 (jí yè) — Polar night
  • 冬至 (Dōng Zhì) — Winter Solstice Festival
  • 冬至大如年 (Dōng Zhì dà rú nián) — Winter Solstice is more important than Chinese New Year

To hear the pronunciation of each vocabulary word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Chinese Winter Solstice vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Chinese Winter Solstice holiday? Are there any special winter-related holidays in your country? Let us know about them in the comments!

Chinese culture is so rich and full. If you’re interested in learning more about China and her people, or if you want more wintery Chinese words, you may find the following pages useful:

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Happy Chinese learning, and stay warm out there! :)

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How to Celebrate Single’s Day in China: You’re not alone!

Holidays are one of the most essential embodiments of a region’s culture. Some traditional holidays have brewed throughout history, while some modern holidays are indicating the new emerging facets of culture. If you’re a Chinese language learner, you must have heard of some traditional Chinese holidays such as the Chinese New Year. However, today we’re going to introduce an off-the-beaten-path holiday called Singles’ Day.

What? You’ve only heard of Valentine’s Day? Well, now you’re going to open your eyes. China’s Singles’ Day became a fad in recent years, originally in an attempt to celebrate single people. Now, it has evolved into a big shopping holiday.

Want to know more about it? No problem. We’ve got everything you need here about China’s Singles’ Day!

Tired of Being Jealous of People Who Can Celebrate Valentine’s Day? Now It’s You Single People’s Turn!

1. How Did Singles’ Day Start?

Singles’ Day in Chinese is 光棍节 (guāng gùn jié), which literally means “single stick day.” It’s a single-awareness day among young Chinese people. This non-official national Singles’ Day originated from college students at Nanjing University in 1993 in an attempt to celebrate their pride in singledom as opposed to being part of a couple on Valentine’s Day.

So when is Chinese Singles’ Day? Because the date 11/11 resembles four single sticks that indicate being solitary, November 11th was agreed to be the proper Singles’ Day.

Interestingly, it has become trendy for many young people to confess their feelings for people they like on Singles’ Day! Guess why? Because if it ever works out, then they can finally end their journey of being single exactly on Singles’ Day and start a romantic date right after!

Binge-shopping on Singles’ Day!

2. How Did it Become a Shopping Festival?

Singles’ Day has now been transformed from an “anti-Valentine’s Day” into the biggest online shopping day worldwide. This idea was triggered by Alibaba back in 2009 and people have embraced it ever since. The Chinese Singles’ Day Alibaba paved the way for also encourages single people’s inner pride by providing them with such perks.

A version of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, also known as the Double Eleven Shopping Day, was created by offering prodigious discounts for twenty-four hours mainly through Alibaba-operated platforms such as Taobao, as well as some other big competitors that integrated Alibaba’s idea. It’s much like American’s Black Friday, but the Singles’ Day shopping festival is more E-commerce-focused and has a larger scale due to the huge Chinese population.

Now you know why many people can’t wait for the exciting Double Eleven Shopping Day to clean their cart and buy all of their favorite products they’ve been waiting a long time for! If you ever want to get these good deals on China’s Singles’ Day, remember to have some good Wi-Fi service and try to get your desired items exactly at the time the sale starts. Otherwise, your website may crash due to the large demand and you’ll end up getting nothing!

3. Singles’ Day Vocabulary

1- Words about Relationships

Single dog - 单身狗 (dān shēn gǒu)

Meaning: Someone who is single and sad
Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我今年还是一只单身狗。
Pinyin: Wǒ jīn nián hái shì yī zhī dān shēn gǒu.
In English: I am still a single dog this year.

A single noble - 单身贵族 (dān shēn guì zú)

Meaning: Someone who is single and proud
Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我想一直做个单身贵族,无拘无束。
Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yī zhí zuò gè dān shēn guì zú, wú jū wú shù.
In English: I just wanted to be a single noble all the time and keep myself free.

Single stick - 光棍 (guāng gùn)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我已经做了快二十年的光棍,真希望可以快点找到自己的另一半。
Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng zuò le kuài èr shí nián de guāng gùn, zhēn xī wàng kě yǐ kuài diǎn zhǎo dào zì jǐ de lìng yī bàn.
In English: I have been a single stick for almost twenty years; I really hope to find my other half as soon as possible.

Not single anymore - 脱单 (tuō dān)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 今年的我终于不用再过光棍节了,因为我已经脱单啦!
Pinyin: Jīn nián de wǒ zhōng yú bú yòng zài guò guāng gùn jié le, yīn wèi wǒ yǐ jīng tuō dān la!
In English: Finally, I won’t have to go through Singles’ Day this year, because I am not single anymore!

Wine Toast

Public display of affection (PDA) - 秀恩爱 (xiù ēn ài)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我朋友总是在公共场合秀恩爱。
Pinyin: Wǒ péng yǒu zǒng shì zài gōng gòng chǎng hé xiù ēn ài.
In English: My friend always likes to show public displays of affection.

Eat dog food - 吃狗粮 (chī gǒu liáng)

Meaning: A single person who suffers from other people’s public displays of affection.
Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 看来我今年情人节又要吃狗粮了。
Pinyin: Kàn lái wǒ jīn nián qíng rén jié yòu yào chī gǒu liáng le.
In English: It seems like I will have to eat dog food again on this year’s Valentine’s Day.

2- Chinese Singles’ Day Shopping Vocabulary

Sign up - 注册 (zhù cè)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我刚刚注册了一个淘宝的账号。
Pinyin: Wǒ gāng gāng zhù cè le yī gè táo bǎo de zhàng hào.
In English: I just signed up for an account on Taobao.

Coupon - 优惠券 (yōu huì quàn)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我终于领到了优惠券,可以用来买我购物车里的东西。
Pinyin: Wǒ zhōng yú lǐng dào le yōu huì quàn, kě yǐ yòng lái mǎi wǒ gòu wù chē lǐ de dōng xi.
In English: I finally got coupons, which I can use to buy the products in my shopping cart.

Aren’t Sales the Best Things Ever?

Sale - 促销 (cù xiāo)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 每次我都会等到商场大促销再去购物。
Pinyin: Měi cì wǒ dōu huì děng dào shāng chǎng dà cù xiāo zài qù gòu wù.
In English: I always wait to shop until there is a big sale in the mall.

Online shopping - 网上购物 (wǎng shàng gòu wù)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 网上购物真方便。
Pinyin: Wǎng shàng gòu wù zhēn fāng biàn.
In English: Online shopping is so convenient.

Double Eleven Shopping Day (11/11 Shopping Day) - 双十一购物节 (shuāng shí yī gòu wù jié)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我打算等到了双十一购物节再买购物车里的这些东西。
Pinyin: Wǒ dǎ suàn děng dào le shuāng shí yī gòu wù jiē zài mǎi gòu wù chē lǐ de zhè xiē dōng xi.
In English: I am going to wait to clear my cart until Double Eleven Shopping Day.

The same style as internet celebrities’ - 网红同款 (wǎng hóng tóng kuǎn)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我们店有很多网红同款的宝贝。
Pinyin: Wǒ men diàn yǒu hěn duō wǎng hóng tóng kuǎn de bǎo bèi.
In English: Lots of products in our store are in the same style as internet celebrities’.

Shipping fees included - 包邮 (bāo yóu)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 每个人都很享受买东西包邮这项服务。
Pinyin: Měi gè rén dōu hěn xiǎng shòu mǎi dōng xi bāo yóu zhè xiàng fú wù.
In English: Everyone enjoys free shipping when they buy something.

Remember to Give Your Seller a Thumbs-Up If You Are Happy with Your Purchase.

Positive feedback - 好评 (hǎo píng)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 如果您对我们的服务满意的话,请给我们一个好评吧。
Pinyin: Rú guǒ nín duì wǒ men de fú wù mǎn yì de huà, qǐng gěi wǒ men yī gè hǎo píng ba.
In English: If you are happy with our service, please give us positive feedback.

Negative feedback - 差评 (chà píng)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我刚从这家店买的东西,几天就坏了,于是我毫不犹豫地给了他们一个差评。
Pinyin: Wǒ gāng cóng zhè jiā diàn mǎi de dōng xi, jǐ tiān jiù huài le, yú shì wǒ háo bù yóu yù de gěi le tā men yī gè chà píng.
In English: I just bought a product from this store, and it broke within just a couple of days. Thus I gave them negative feedback without any hesitance.

Store - 店铺 (diàn pù)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 这家护肤品店铺的宝贝又便宜又好用。
Pinyin: Zhè jiā hù fū pǐn diàn pù de bǎo bèi yòu pián yí yòu hǎo yòng.
In English: The skincare products from this store are inexpensive and of good quality.

Limited to one store only - 独家 (dú jiā)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 这件衣服是我们店独家设计的。
Pinyin: Zhè jiàn yī fú shì wǒ men diàn dú jiā shè jì de.
In English: The design of this piece of clothing is limited to our store only.

New arrival - 新品 (xīn pǐn)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 听说这家店会在今年双十一上很多新品呢。
Pinyin: Tīng shuō zhè jiā diàn huì zài jīn nián shuāng shí yī shàng hěn duō xīn pǐn ne.
In English: I heard that this store will have many new arrivals on 11/11 this year.

Products - 宝贝 (bǎo bèi)

Usage in a sentence:
In Chinese: 我们家的宝贝质量都很好。
Pinyin: Wǒ men jiā de bǎo bèi zhì liàng dōu hěn hǎo.
In English: All the products in our store have great quality.

Conclusion

Now that you have a good understanding of China’s Singles’ Day, whether you’re single or not, remember to take advantage of it to get a good deal on this special shopping day! Are there any products or items you’ve been wanting to buy? Now’s the time!

We also have free Chinese lessons released every week so that you can have a free try! What are you waiting for? Study now on ChineseClass101.com with the most updated and culturally relevant lessons, and the most knowledgeable and energetic hosts, to have the experience of a lifetime!

The Chinese Double Ninth Festival

Each year, the Chinese celebrate the age-old Double Ninth Festival, which is sometimes referred to as the Chongyang Festival or Senior Day. Few Chinese holidays reach as far back into history as this one does, with origins in the Han Dynasty. Further, the Double Ninth Festival reflects many of the values and beliefs most dear to the Chinese people, such as respect for ancestors and the elderly.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the Double Ninth Festival in Chinese culture, including its most notable traditions. As any successful language-learner can tell you, understanding a country’s culture is a vital step in mastering the language. And at ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative, including this one!

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1. What is the Double Ninth Festival?

The Double Ninth Festival (Chongyang) originated from ancient times, as early as the Han Dynasty, when people celebrated the autumn harvest for the year. Essentially, the Double Ninth Festival is a day for Chinese people to avoid bad luck (we’ll explain how later) and to show respect and honor toward one’s ancestors.

According to the Double Ninth Festival story, there was once a man who was warned about danger to his village. He listened to the warning, escaped into the mountains, and thus survived the village catastrophe. This explains the focus on ascending heights to avoid ill fortune.

2. When is the Double Ninth Festival?

Ninth Day of Ninth Lunar Month

The date of Double Ninth Day is on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, hence its name. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: October 7
  • 2020: October 25
  • 2021: October 14
  • 2022: October 4
  • 2023: October 23
  • 2024: October 11
  • 2025: October 29
  • 2026: October 18
  • 2027: October 8
  • 2028: October 26

3. Double Ninth Festival Celebrations & Traditions

During the crisp autumn days, what interesting celebrations do people hold? Well, Double Ninth Festival traditions are many.

Traditionally, the customs of the Double Ninth Festival include ascending heights, enjoying chrysanthemums, and drinking. “Ascending heights” is an elegant way to say hiking. In many northern areas, autumn is the best time to be outdoors, with clear skies and crisp air. Hence, many people choose to go out, hike, and enjoy the views.

At the Double Ninth Festival, people not only ascend heights, but also eat Chongyang cake. In Chinese, “cake” (gao) is a homonym of “height” (gao), which has an auspicious sense of rising step-by-step.

The chrysanthemum symbolizes longevity and is one of the most popular flowers in China. There has long been a tradition of enjoying chrysanthemums at the Double Ninth Festival. Hence, the Double Ninth Festival is also called the Chrysanthemum Festival. In fact, the whole ninth lunar month is the month of chrysanthemums. Many flower markets and botanical gardens hold chrysanthemum exhibitions one after another, attracting tourists to enjoy and take photos.

At the Double Ninth Festival, people drink chrysanthemum wine, which is made from chrysanthemums and glutinous rice. It’s said that chrysanthemum wine can protect eyesight and prevent aging. If you like drinking, you may want to try it.

In recent years, the Double Ninth Festival has also been called the Elderly Festival since, in Chinese, “nine” is a homonym of “long,” which represents long life. Thus, people usually commemorate their ancestors or organize activities to show respect to the elderly on this day. For example, many primary schools and middle schools take students to work as volunteers in nursing homes, and some medical centers also offer free health consultations to the elderly.

4. Why is it Called Chongyang?

Paying

Why do we call Double Ninth Day Chongyang in Chinese?

In ancient China, numbers were subdivided into two opposing types: Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). Since nine is a Yang number and the ninth day of the ninth lunar month has two Yang numbers, it is called Chong (double) Yang.

5. Essential Vocabulary for the Double Ninth Festival

Chrysanthemum Flower

Here’s the essential vocabulary you need to know for the Chinese Double Ninth Festival!

  • 菊花 (júhuā) — chrysanthemum
  • 登高 (dēnggāo) — climb a mountain
  • 郊游 (jiāoyóu) — picnic
  • 风筝 (fēngzhēng) — kite
  • 香 (xiāng) — incense
  • 菊花酒 (júhuā jiǔ) — chrysanthemum wine
  • 重阳糕 (Chóngyáng gāo) — Chung Yeung rice cake
  • 久 (jiǔ) — long time
  • 祭祖 (jìzǔ) — pay respect at ancestors’ grave
  • 九月九 (jiǔyuè jiǔ) — the ninth day of the ninth lunar month
  • 重阳节 (Chóngyáng jié) — Double Ninth Festival

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and accompanied by relevant images, check out our Double Ninth Festival vocabulary list!

How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Master Chinese

What are your thoughts on the Double Ninth Festival in China? Is there any similar holiday in your country? Let us know in the comments; we always look forward to hearing from you.

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Mao Zedong & The Communist Party of China: CPC Founding Day

With two important festivals celebrated on the same day, no wonder this day bustles with colored flags fluttering and is full of excitement! What are the activities involved in this celebration, and who was Mao Zedong?

Let’s take a look at these two festivals to help you better understand the Chinese culture as a whole. After all, sound cultural knowledge is one of the most important steps in mastering a language. And at ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What are CPC Founding Day & Hong Kong’s Return Anniversary?

July 1 is the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.

In July, 1921, communist organizations from different areas of China sent their representatives to Shanghai to hold the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and declared the establishment of the CCP. Mao Zedong, the founder of Communist Party of China, suggested setting July 1 as the anniversary of the CCP’s “birthday,” which is usually called the “Party’s Birthday.”

Also, July 1 is the anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong, commonly known as the “Ninety Seven Return,” (or “the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong,” or “Hong Kong handover“), and mainland China refers to this day as Hong Kong returning to its motherland.

These all refer to the historical event when the United Kingdom handed the sovereignty of Hong Kong back to the People’s Republic of China. This Hong Kong return to China is one of the most significant aspects of China’s history.

What was the Cultural Revolution in China?

The Cultural Revolution in China largely had to do with promoting Maoism and finding ways to preserve Chinese communism. So, when was the Cultural Revolution in China?

Beginning in 1966, the end of the Cultural Revolution in China was in 1976. In 1976, Deng Xiaoping worked with reformers to undue much of the Maoist policies within the Party.

2. CPC Founding Day & Hong Kong Return Anniversary Date

Man Speaking in Front of People

Each year, the Chinese observe CPC Founding Day and Anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong on July 1.

3. Reading Practice: How is CPC Day Celebrated?

How does China celebrate these two events? Read the Simplified Chinese text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

这一节日虽然政治气氛浓厚,由于举国上下共同庆祝的气氛的烘托,也成为中国节日文化的一部分。这一天,电视台会播放大型庆祝晚会。也会有许多回顾建党历史的纪录片、电视剧等影视作品接连上映,带领人们重温历史,展望未来。

“一国两制”是一个在中国的电视新闻上出现频率颇高的词汇,即”一个国家,两种制度”。意思是在一个中国的前提下,香港、澳门作为特别行政区保持原有的制度和生活方式长期不变。”一国两制”是前中国领导人邓小平为了实现中国统一的目标而创造、提出的方针。

Although July 1 originated from political events, the celebrations across the whole country have made it part of China’s holiday culture. On July 1, a celebratory evening party is broadcast on TV. Documentaries, films, and TV series regarding the CCP will also be on show to tell people about the past and to draw pictures of the future.

Yi Guo Liang Zhi is a phrase that frequently appears in TV news, and it means “one country, two political systems.” Hong Kong and Macao are special administrative regions where their established system can be retained under a high degree of autonomy for a certain period. It is a principle originally proposed by China’s former leader Deng Xiaoping for the unification of China.

4. How Long is the Holiday?

Flowers and Wreaths on Graves

How long is the holiday for these two events?

Despite being of great significance, July 1 is not a public holiday with days off. CCP members even need to attend meetings on July 1 and report their ideological work.

5. Useful Vocabulary for these Two Chinese Holidays

Communist Flag

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for CPC Founding Day in China!

  • 政党 (zhèngdǎng) — political party
  • 毛泽东 (Máo Zédōng) — Mao Zedong
  • 邓小平 (Dèng Xiǎopíng) — Deng Xiaoping
  • 文化大革命 (Wénhuà Dà Gémìng) — Cultural Revolution
  • 纪念 (jìniàn) — commemoration
  • 共产主义 (gòngchǎn zhǔyì) — communism
  • 共产党 (Gòngchǎn Dǎng) — Communist Party of China
  • 马列主义 (Mǎ Liè Zhǔyì) — Marxism-Leninism
  • 社会主义 (Shèhuì Zhǔyì) — Socialism
  • 解放 (jiěfàng) — liberate
  • 建党节 (jiàndǎng jié) — CPC Founding Day

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our CPC Founding Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about CPC Founding Day and the Anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong with us! Did you learn anything new? Let us know in the comments!

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Know that your hard work will soon reap benefits, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Chinese like a native before you know it!

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How to Celebrate the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

One of China’s most popular holidays around the world is the Dragon Boat Festival. The Dragon Boat Festival seeks to commemorate the suicide of Qu Yuan, a heroic poet. While a bit dark, the Dragon Boat Festival history is a unique facet of Chinese culture as a whole.

At ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make learning Chinese both fun and informative, especially when it comes to the culture and the history behind it. Any successful language learner can tell you that this is a vital step in mastering a language.

That said, we hope you enjoy learning about the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival with us!

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1. What is the Dragon Boat Festival?

The Dragon Boat Festival is a Chinese traditional festival to commemorate a hero named Qu Yuan.

Qu Yuan was a politician and poet who lived two thousand years ago. He had been a court official in the State of Chu. He was very loyal, but the King believed the words of the treacherous instead and exiled him. Feeling humiliated, he jumped into a river on May 5 to end his life. It is said that people missed him greatly after his death. They began boating on the same river and this activity gradually evolved into Dragon Boat racing.

2. When is Dragon Boat Festival?

A Dragon Boat

So, when is the Dragon Boat Festival?

Each year, China celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 7
  • 2020: June 25
  • 2021: June 14
  • 2022: June 3
  • 2023: June 22
  • 2024: June 10
  • 2025: May 31
  • 2026: June 19
  • 2027: June 9
  • 2028: May 28

3. Reading Practice: Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Traditions

How do the Chinese celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival? Read the Simplified Chinese below to learn about Chinese Dragon Boat Festival traditions (including Dragon Boat Festival food!), and find the English translation directly below it.

说到赛龙舟,这是一项非常受欢迎的传统竞技。龙舟就是小船,赛龙舟就是划船比赛。比赛的时候,每个穿上安排25名船员,由其中一人指挥,2人敲鼓,其他人齐心协力,力争最快划到终点。赛龙舟最吸引人的是它热闹的气氛,龙舟上鼓声震天,喊声不绝;两岸围观的观众也络绎不绝。

而在端午节一定要吃的食物当然是粽子了。传说屈原跳江后,人们不忍心他的躯体被江河里的鱼虾吃掉,便做了很多带馅儿的团子撒到水里喂鱼——这就是粽子的由来。那么粽子是什么样的呢?最里面是枣、豆沙等做成的馅儿,由浸泡好的糯米包裹,最外面再包上粽子叶。煮好以后剥掉粽子叶,蘸白糖吃。

古时候人们认为端午节这天在家门口悬挂艾叶能避邪气。现代科学发现,艾叶的确能起到杀菌消毒、预防瘟疫流行的作用。

The dragon boat race is a very popular tradition. Dragon boats are small boats, and the dragon boat race is a boating race. There are twenty-five members on each boat: one in command, two playing the drums, and the rest making rigorous efforts to be the fastest to reach the finish line. What attracts people most is the atmosphere of the race. On the dragon boat, the drums sound like thunder, and the crew members’ shouts are never-ending. On both sides of the river bank is an endless stream of spectators.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, you must not miss out on eating rice dumplings. Legend says that after Qu Yuan jumped into the river, people didn’t want his body to be eaten by river fish; they made many dumplings with fillings and threw them into the river to feed the fish. This is the origin of the rice dumpling. So, what does a rice dumpling look like? Fillings such as jujube, red bean paste, or others are put inside soaked glutinous rice, and the rice is wrapped in bamboo leaves. After boiling, you can peel off the leaves and dip the rice dumplings in sugar to eat them.

In ancient times, people believed that hanging wormwood leaves on the door of their home could keep evil away. Modern science has found that wormwood leaves can sterilize and prevent plague infection.

4. How Traditions Relate to Qu Yuan

Sweet Rice Dumplings

Which customs in the Dragon Boat Festival (China) commemorate Qu Yuan?

The Dragon Boat Festival itself is a festival to commemorate Qu Yuan. The customs related to Qu Yuan include the dragon boat race and eating rice dumplings.

5. Useful Vocabulary for the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

Playing on Gongs and Drums

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival!

  • 端午节 (Duānwǔ Jié) — Dragon Boat Festival
  • 屈原 (Qū Yuán) — Qu Yuan
  • 龙舟赛 (lóngzhōu sài) — dragon boat race
  • 龙舟 (lóngzhōu) — dragon boat
  • 糯米 (nuòmǐ) — glutinous rice
  • 锣鼓 (luó gǔ) — gongs and drums
  • 雄黄酒 (xiónghuáng jiǔ) — realgar wine
  • 粽 (zòng) — rice dumpling stuffed with meat
  • 划龙舟 (huá lóngzhōu) — row a dragon boat
  • 甜粽 (tiánzòng) — sweet rice dumpling

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Chinese Dragon Boat Festival vocabulary list. Here, each word is accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think of the Dragon Boat Festival in China? Does your country have a similar holiday or festival? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture in China and the Chinese language, visit us at ChineseClass101.com! It’s our aim to make learning Chinese both fun and informative, and to ensure that every learner can master the language. We offer an array of useful learning tools, from insightful blog posts like this one to free Chinese vocabulary lists. You can also discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners on our community forum, and upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

We hope you took away something valuable from this lesson, and that you feel more knowledgeable about this facet of Chinese culture. Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Chinese like a native before you know it!

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The May Fourth Movement & Chinese Youth Day

Why is it important to celebrate Youth Day?

The May Fourth Movement in China was one of the most significant events in Chinese history, when university students in 1919 stood up and spoke out about unfair treaties at the Paris Peace Conference. This began anti-imperialism and patriotism in China, and marked the beginning of the New Democratic Revolution in China.

It’s no wonder that China places such value on its youth. They made an important stand in the past, and can do so in the future, thus earning their May 4th holiday. During Golden Week, China makes sure to honor its youth on this day.

At ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make your learning experience both fun and informative as we delve into this defining characteristic of Chinese culture: Youth Day in China during the Chinese Golden Week holiday season.

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1. What is Chinese Youth Day?

In China, the Golden Week holiday Youth Day is used to commemorate the May Fourth Movement on May 4, 1919, which raised the flag of anti-imperialism and patriotism in China.

In China’s modern history, the May Fourth Movement has great significance, so Youth Day is accompanied by profound historical influence. On May 1, 1919, students from universities in Beijing organized a massive protest against unequal treaties signed by the government at the Paris Peace Conference. This movement marked the beginning of the New Democratic Revolution in China.

Though almost a century has passed since the May Fourth Movement, its spirit of patriotism, progress, democracy, and science is still advocated in contemporary China. “May Fourth” has become a cultural symbol and “May Fourth Youth” symbolize the patriotic youth.

2. When is Youth Day?

Dragon Image on Red Background

Each year, Chinese Youth Day is celebrated on May 4. Young people in China have a half-day off to celebrate this public holiday.

3. Reading Practice: How is Youth Day Celebrated?

People Packing Things into Car

How is Youth Day celebrated in China? Read the simplified Chinese text below to find out (and find the English translation directly below it).

如今在五四青年节期间,中国各地都会举行丰富多采的纪念活动,学校和单位里的”共青团”会组织青年们集中进行社会志愿和社会实践活动,比如去敬老院服务一天,十字路口帮助交通协管员维护交通秩序之类的。还有许多高中在青年节期间为即将毕业的高三生举行成人仪式,也叫作”成人冠礼”。

近年各大高校校园内刮起一股”民国风”,许多大学生在五四这一天身穿当年流行的民国学生制服

Today, there are various activities of celebration on Youth Day. The Youth Leagues will organize young people to participate in social activities, such as volunteering in nursing homes or helping traffic coordinators maintain traffic order. Many high schools will hold a coming of age ceremony called “Guan Li” for junior students who are graduating shortly after the Youth Day.

In recent years, the Republican style has become prevalent in universities. Many university students wear the student uniforms of those during the time of the Republic of China, as a way of celebration.

4. Additional Information: What is Youth?

So, Youth Day in China sounds like a great holiday. But who are able to participate in the half-day off? What is the legal definition of youth in China?

On Youth Day, China focuses on people between age fourteen and age twenty-eight. More than 300-million young people can have a half-day holiday on May 4.

5. Must-know Vocab

Fist Held High in Air

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Youth Day in China!

  • 鲁迅 (Lǔ Xùn) — Lu Xun
  • 五四运动 (Wǔsì Yùndòng) — May Fourth Movement
  • 革命 (gémìng) — revolution
  • 纪念 (jìniàn) — commemoration
  • 爱国主义 (àiguó zhǔyì) — patriotism
  • 五四青年节 (Wǔsìqīngniánjié) — Youth Day
  • 成人仪式 (chéngrén yíshì) — come of age ceremony
  • 五一长假 (Wǔyī chángjià) — Golden Week
  • 传统 (chuántǒng) — tradition
  • 游行 (yóuxíng) — demonstration

To hear each of these words pronounced, check out our Chinese Youth Day vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think of China’s Youth Day? Does your country hold a celebration dedicated to its youth? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about the culture in China and the language, visit us at ChineseClass101.com. From insightful blog posts to free vocabulary lists, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students, there’s something here for every Chinese learner! You can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program with a Premium Plus account, to learn Chinese one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

Until next time, best wishes on your Chinese language-learning journey. Your determination, hard work, and practice will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking like a native! And ChineseClass101.com will be here every step of your way there.

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Qingming Festival: The Tomb Sweeping Holiday in China

The Chinese Qingming Festival is one of the most significant, culturally rich holidays in the country. Essentially, this day is reserved for honoring one’s filial piety by paying respect to deceased family and ancestors. As the holiday’s other name—Tomb Sweeping Day—indicates, people visit the graves of their ancestors to clean them and burn incense as a show of respect.

By learning about the Tomb Sweeping holiday China celebrates each year, you’re opening up your eyes to Chinese culture and providing yourself a firmer foundation for your language-learning. At ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make this learning experience both fun and insightful! Learn more about the Qingming Festival in China with us!

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1. What is the Qingming Festival?

Tomb Sweeping Day is a day for worshipping ancestors. This is an important aspect of Chinese culture, and the China Tomb Sweeping Day holiday is reserved just for this. Chinese people travel (sometimes long distances) to clean the graves of their ancestors, as well as burn incense and special joss paper. This early spring holiday is a strong representation of the Chinese value of filial piety.

Learn more Qingming Festival facts below!

2. When is the Chinese Qingming Festival?

Tomb Sweeping Day in April

Each year, the Qingming Festival is typically celebrated on April 4 or 5, though sometimes it takes place on April 6. Though the date doesn’t vary too much from year to year, we’ll still provide you with an outline of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: April 5
  • 2020: April 4
  • 2021: April 4
  • 2022: April 5
  • 2023: April 5
  • 2024: April 4
  • 2025: April 4
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: April 5
  • 2028: April 4

3. Reading Practice: How is the Qingming Festival Celebrated?

Joss paper

How is the Qingming Festival celebrated? Read the Chinese text below to find out (you can find the English translation directly below it).


富裕的家庭会在祖先的墓碑前 上香,但你也会看到许多人在街边烧纸钱。 纸钱 是烧给逝者的一些仿造的纸币,人们相信辞世的祖先在阴间也需要花钱。近年来,商家的想象力也变得 格外 丰富。你会看到各式各样的新式”纸钱”:有纸张做的美女、别墅、甚至麻将之类的东西,随着iPhone的流行,最近竟然还有纸质的iPhone 贩卖。
中国素有红白喜事,”红”指结婚,而”白”就是指亲人的离世了。人的生死是大事,尤其在重视家庭传统的中国。销售花圈、寿衣以及扫墓相关商品的”殡葬业”,这几年频频被媒体指摘为暴利行业。

踏青也是清明节的一项传统。踏青,又叫春游。四月份春回大地,到处呈现一派生机勃勃的景象,正是郊游的好时光。而放风筝也是清明时节人们所喜爱的活动。人们不仅白天放,夜间也放。这个节日中既有思念逝去亲人的悲伤,又有踏青游玩的欢笑声,是一个非常独特的节日。现在越来越多的人选择骨灰处理的方式,买。。。。

Wealthy families will burn incense in front of their ancestors’ tombs. Also you can see many people burning joss paper along the streets. Joss paper is a kind of fake money made to be burned for the deceased, as people believe that their deceased ancestors need money in the underworld. In recent years, the market for joss paper has become particularly creative. You can see various new shapes of joss paper such as paper beauties, paper houses, even paper Mahjong pieces. Joss paper versions of iPhones are also being sold these days because iPhones are so popular.
In China, there is a well-known saying: “wear red or white.” “Red” refers to getting married and “white” means the passing away of relatives. Birth and death are important events in peoples’ lives, especially in China, where family is greatly valued. In recent years, the “funeral industry” that sells wreaths, grave shrouds, and other related goods for sweeping tombs, has been frequently criticized as engaging in profiteering by the mass media.
Going out during the Tomb Sweeping Festival is also a tradition. It is also called the Spring Outing. In April, with the return of spring, lively and vibrant scenes are everywhere, making it a great time for an outing. Flying kites is a popular activity for the Tomb Sweeping Festival. People fly kites both at night and during the day. The sorrow of missing loved ones who have passed and happiness from the outing combines in this festival, making it very special.

4. Additional Information

There are many traditional taboos for the Tomb Sweeping Festival. For example, people should avoid fire, using needles, and washing clothes on that day; in most regions, women should avoid walking. However, people rarely observe these traditions in modern times.

Also note that people can take three days off for the Tomb Sweeping Festival. Unless it’s Spring Festival, National Day, or Labor Day, people can only take one day off for all the other national holidays in China. From this, you can see the importance of the Tomb Sweeping Festival.

One of the most common Qingming Festival foods is sweet green rice balls, a favorite for this holiday. These are prepared in advance, to free up the actual holiday for the traditional activities.

5. Must-know Vocab

Studying vocabulary

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Qingming Festival in China!

  • 重要性 (zhòngyàoxìng) — importance
  • 国庆节 (Guóqìng jié) — national day
  • 劳动节 (láodòng jié) — labor day
  • 贩卖 (fànmài) — to sell
  • 行路 (xínglù) — walking on the road
  • 刻意 (kèyì) — deliberately
  • 红白喜事 (hóngbái xǐshì) — weddings and funerals
  • 格外 (géwài) — extraordinary
  • 忌 () — to avoid
  • 上香 (shàngxiāng) — to burn incense
  • 祭祖 (jìzǔ) — to worship ancestors
  • 烧香 (shāoxiāng) — burning incense
  • 纸钱 (zhǐqián) — paper money
  • 踏青 (tàqīng) — outing
  • 清明节 (qīngmíng jié) — Qingming festival
  • 扫墓 (sǎomù) — grave-sweeping
  • 殡葬业 (bìnzàng yè) — funeral industry
  • 暴利 (bàolì) — excessive profit
  • 指摘 (zhǐzhāi) — accusation
  • 生机勃勃 (shēngjībóbó) — vibrant

You can check out this lesson on the Tomb Sweeping Festival to hear each word pronounced. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about the Qingming Festival in China? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you enjoyed learning about China’s Tomb Sweeping Day with us. If so, you can visit us at ChineseClass101.com for more information on Chinese culture and the Chinese language. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and on online community to discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners. You can also upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of a one-on-one learning experience with our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard will pay off, and with enough practice and determination, you’ll be speaking Chinese like a native before you know it! We wish you the best in your language-learning journey.

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International Women’s Day in China: Happy Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day, as you likely know, is celebrated in numerous countries around the world. China is one of these many countries observing Women’s Day, and in particular women’s rights in China.

Learn more about International Women’s Day in China to get a better understanding of the Chinese culture and history of its women. At ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make learning about Chinese Women’s Day both exciting and insightful. So let’s get started!

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1. What is Women’s Day in China?

International Women’s Day in China, also called the “Three Eight Women’s Day,” is a celebration of women’s economic, political, and social achievements. Sometimes it is called “Three Eight” for short. Now, let’s look at China’s Women’s Day!

2. When is International Women’s Day?

A Woman Smiling

The first International Women’s Day was observed in the U.S. In 1911, more than 140 female workers from a textile factory in New York initiated a protest against unequal rights of women workers, but unfortunately died in a fire at the factory thereafter.

To commemorate this protest and protect women’s rights, the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. China began its celebration of this day in 1949, and women enjoy a half-day off on March 8.

3. Reading Practice: How is it Celebrated?

Woman Smelling Flowers

Learn how the Chinese celebrate International Women’s Day across the country by reading the Chinese text below. You can find the English translation directly below it.

—–

中国是个多民族的国家,一些少数民族也有自己的妇女节,其日期、风俗活动各不相同,十分独特有趣。比如,云南的纳西族,把农历七月二十五定为”女神节”。这天,成年男女都穿着节日盛装,举行隆重的祭祀女神仪式,然后阖家团坐,享受丰盛的野餐。青年男女还要绕山走一圈,载歌载舞,结交知心朋友。
而云南的哈尼族人则庆祝”姑娘节” ,这一天主要是纪念古时为反对父母包办婚姻而跳崖自尽的姑娘悠玛,以示尊重妇女和婚姻自由。此外,农历五月初四是甘肃藏族的”女儿节”。这天,姑娘们由自己的亲兄弟陪同,穿上艳丽的节日服装,带上美味食品,白天上山采花对歌,晚上同小伙子互相敬酒,祝福幸福和吉祥。

—–
China is a country with different ethnic groups. Some have their own Women’s Day, of which the dates and customs vary, with unique and interesting characteristics. For example, the Nakhi people in Yunnan celebrate the “Goddess Festival” on the twenty-fifth of the seventh lunar month. Adult men and women dress up in costumes, holding a grand ceremony to worship the goddess. Then, family members sit together to enjoy a picnic. Besides this, young men and women walk around the mountain, dancing, singing, and making friends.

To commemorate a girl named Youma who committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in protest against a marriage arranged by her parents, the Hani people in Yunnan celebrate “Girl’s Day” to show respect for women and the freedom of marriage. The fourth day of the fifth lunar month is “Daughter’s Day” for Tibetans in Gansu. During the day, young girls are accompanied by their brothers, dressing up in colorful costumes and bringing delicious food, picking flowers on the mountain and singing to each other; in the evening, young girls and boys toast each other with blessings of happiness.

4. Additional Information

Beyond a half-day holiday, many companies, particularly state-owned companies, will give various gifts to female employees, such as a bathroom set, beauty kits, portable travel bags, and so on. Some also organize activities like get-togethers for female employees—take for example the women’s march in China.

Further, please note that while the day is called the “Three Eighth,” “Three Eight” is a pejorative term describing women who like to gossip or are stupid. You should be cautious with this word, because it is very offensive.

5. Must-know Vocab

Three Old Women Smiling and Laughing

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for International Women’s Day in China!

  • 康乃馨 (kāngnǎixīn) — carnation
  • 女士 (nǚ shì) — lady
  • 国际劳动妇女节 (guójì láodòng fùnǚ jié) — International Women’s Day
  • 巾帼 (jīn guó) — woman
  • 女性权益 (nǚxìng quányì) — women’s rights
  • 男女平等 (nánnǚ píngděng) — the equality of men and women
  • 时尚 (shí shàng) — fashion
  • 妩媚 (wǔ mèi) — charming
  • 养颜 (yǎng yán) — beauty
  • 美容 (měi róng) — cosmetology
  • 永葆青春 (Yǒng bǎo qīngchūn) — eternal youth

If you want to hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Chinese International Women’s Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied with an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

As you can see, Women’s Day in China is an important holiday for the country. Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day, or another holiday celebrating and respecting women? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Chinese culture and the language, visit us at ChineseClass101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in learning Chinese with your own personal teacher.

We hope you enjoyed learning about how China celebrates International Women’s Day. Keep delving into the Chinese culture and continue your hard work—it will pay off!

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The Lunar New Year: Chinese New Year Celebration

As opposed to the Gregorian New Year, the Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year. This involves an array of Chinese New Year celebrations which are unique to the Chinese culture. By learning more about the Chinese New Year, you’re not only giving yourself a foothold in learning the language, but you’re showing respect for the country.

Learn more about Chinese New Year traditions, along with other Chinese New Year facts, with ChineseClass101.com!

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1. What is Chinese New Year’s?

The Chinese New Year is considered the most important festival in China. The last night of the lunar year is called 除夕 (chúxī), which means New Year’s Eve, and is usually celebrated within the family. On some occasions you may also hear the phrase 小除夕(xiǎo Chúxī)meaning a “small New Year’s eve,” and it refers to an evening that people usually spend with different family members and friends.

These two eves are celebrated with different family members or friends. The very beginning of the new lunar year is called 大年初一 (Dànián chūyī) which means “the first day of the year.” The first full moon, which takes place during the first month on the fifteenth day, is when the Lantern Festival or 元宵节 (Yuánxiāojié) is held, and between the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival, every day has different customs and practices.

2. When is the Chinese New Year?

Countdown to New Year

The Gregorian date of this holiday varies each year based on the Chinese lunar calendar. For your convenience, here’s a list of the Chinese New Year’s dates for the next ten years.

  • 2019: February 5
  • 2020: January 25
  • 2021: February 12
  • 2022: February 1
  • 2023: January 22
  • 2024: February 10
  • 2025: January 29
  • 2026: February 17
  • 2027: February 6
  • 2028: January 26

3. How is it Celebrated?

Lion Dance

Before New Year’s Eve, many things must be taken care of properly. First and foremost, the whole family should be involved in 扫房 (sǎo fáng), which means “spring cleaning.” The Chinese, as well as many other people, regard the new year as a new beginning. Thus, it’s important to sweep and cleanse the house of everything that happened the past year for a better beginning.

Once the rooms have been cleaned, people attach spring couplets written on red paper to doors and windows to create a fiery sea that’s very joyful. Red is the color Chinese people like to use the most in their big events to wish for good omens.

On New Year’s Eve, many Chinese people will turn on their television set to watch a five-hour-long program that is colloquially called the Spring Night or 春节晚会 (Chūn Jié wǎnhuì). Not only does the Spring Night show have songs, dances, and magic, it also features crosstalk performances, skits, and other typical Chinese performances. Nearly half the people in China usually watch this program.

What children look forward to the most is, of course, receiving New Year’s money, called 红包 (hóngbāo). This literally means “red packets,” because their elders will normally put money into red envelopes and give them out as presents.

However, for young people, the Spring Festival is also a stressful festival. At the dinner table they will often be asked questions by their nosy elders, who ask frustrating questions like “Are you dating someone?”, “Which company do you work at?”, and “How much do you earn in a year?”

4. Additional Information

1- Superstitions about Luck

During the Spring Festival, you are not supposed to say anything unlucky. For example, when a pair of chopsticks drops to the floor while eating Chinese New Year food, you cannot say, 筷子掉了 (kuàizi diàole), which means “oh, they fell.” People have a superstition that saying this phrase may cause the good luck of the new year to also “fall” away.

Instead, you can say 筷落 (kuài luò), which means the same thing but sounds similar to “be happy” in Chinese .

2- Chinese New Year Animals

You may be familiar with the Chinese New Year animals, or the Chinese zodiac. There are twelve animal zodiacs, each one associated with a year as part of a twelve-year cycle. Each new year is the year of one of these animals. For instance, the 2019 Chinese New Year will be the year of the Pig.

By looking at the year you were born, you can determine which Chinese zodiac represents you. This can be a fun activity for learning more about your personality.

5. Must-know Vocab

The Flower Market

In order to fully understand the Chinese New Year celebrations, there’s some vocab you should know. Here’s a list of the most important words.

  • 烟花 (yānhuā) — firework
  • 舞狮 (wǔshī) — lion dance
  • 庆祝 (qìngzhù) — celebration
  • 倒计时 (dào jìshí) — countdown
  • 对联 (duìlián) — couplet
  • 花市 (huāshì) — flowermarket
  • 财神 (Cái Shén) — God of Wealth
  • 年宵 (niánxiāo) — Lunar New Year Fair
  • 拜年 (bàinián) — pay someone a visit during the Chinese New Year
  • 红包 (hóngbāo) — the red envelope
  • 团圆饭 (tuányuán fàn) — reunion dinner
  • 年糕 (niángāo) — rice cake
  • 萝卜糕 (luóbo gāo) — turnip cake
  • 春节 (Chūn Jié) — Lunar New Year

If you want to hear these vocabulary words said aloud, be sure to check out our Chinese New Year vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find an audio with each word’s pronunciation.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it! The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, traditions, and even its date for the next ten years. We hope you enjoyed learning about this significant Chinese holiday and that you’re to take on Chinese New Year celebrations yourself!

What do you think about the Chinese New Year traditions? How do you celebrate the New Year in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about China’s culture and traditions, visit us at ChineseClass101.com. We offer an array insightful blog posts, vocabulary lists on various topics, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners. By downloading our MyTeacher app, you can even have access to a personal teacher if you prefer a one-on-one learning experience.

We wish you the best in learning Chinese, and hope you have a happy Chinese New Year!

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How to Celebrate the Chinese Laba Festival in China

Learning about Chinese holidays is one of the best ways to really dig into the country’s culture, which is necessary for optimal language learning. Today we’ll be looking at one of the more traditional Chinese holidays, the Laba Festival (also called the Chinese Laba Rice Porridge Festival).

We’ll be going over what makes the Laba Festival special, including the Chinese porridge they call Laba porridge (or Laba congee) and the celebration’s history. Find out all you need to know about The Laba Rice Porridge Festival on ChineseClass101.com, from its significance to vocabulary you should know!

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1. Why Should You Know About The Laba Rice Porridge Festival?

The Laba Rice Porridge Festival (or simply the Laba Festival) in China, though not actually a Chinese national holiday, is a fascinating occasion rooted in Buddhism, one of China’s most popular religions. By learning about the origins and customs of this day, you’ll also be gaining much insight into the heart of China’s people and the significance of its history.

Essentially, this holiday is the remembrance of when the Buddha first became Enlightened, a moment in the history of Buddhism that is, of course, of great importance. Learn more about the Laba Festival and its place as one of the most popular Chinese holidays and celebrations.

2. What is The Laba Rice Porridge Festival?

The Laba Festival is an important day for the Chinese people, and its name stems from the day on which it takes place—the eighth day of the twelfth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or Là bā in Chinese.

This traditional Chinese holiday is largely held in commemoration of when Sakyamuni became the Buddha after his Enlightenment. As Buddhism has a fairly strong presence in China today, this is a significant moment in history for Chinese Buddhists.

Like most ancient Chinese holidays and celebrations, this is a day of tradition mixed with more modern interpretation. Even though this isn’t a Chinese national holiday, the tradition of making laba rice porridge and offering it to ancestors remains strong. We’ll talk more about this traditional Chinese dish below.

3. When is it?

Date of The Laba Rice Porridge Festival on Lunar Calendar

The Laba Rice Porridge Festival takes place on the eighth day of the twelfth month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s from this that the holiday gets its name, as the day is translated Là bā in the Chinese language. On the Gregorian calendar, this typically takes place sometime in January, though sometimes it takes place in December (as it will in 2023).

For your convenience, here’s a quick list of the approximate date of this holiday for the next ten years:

  • 2019: January 13
  • 2020: January 2
  • 2021: January 20
  • 2022: January 8
  • 2023: December 30
  • 2024: January 18
  • 2025: January 7
  • 2026: January 26
  • 2027: January 15
  • 2028: January 4

4. How is it celebrated?

A Bowl of Porridge

Eating is one of the most important (and most looked forward to!) parts of any holiday, no matter where you are.

As the name suggests, during The Laba Porridge Festival, people make a special porridge called 腊八粥 (làbāzhōu) or Laba congee. This dish takes a long time to make, and preparation for it begins the night before the holiday; cooking starts at midnight, and it’s not ready until that morning.

This is an elaborate porridge, containing a variety of grain, fruit, and vegetable (eight types to be exact, which is why some people also call it “eight treasure congee”). Common ingredients are various types of nuts, prunes, and a Southeast Asian fruit called 桂圆 (guìyuán), or longan. This dish is known to promote good health, due to its fantastic nutritional value.

Not only do the Chinese people eat this porridge themselves, but they first offer it as a sacrifice to their ancestors. In fact, Beijing Laba Congee is an even more elaborate dish, containing twenty ingredients—each one specially picked to ensure high quality so as to please the ancestors it will be offered to.

In the past, it was also custom for those of higher status to offer this porridge to the poor and to monks.

1- Fun Fact

It’s considered 好兆头 (hǎo zhàotou), or a good sign, for there to be Laba porridge left over. This signifies that there will be prosperity among the family who has the leftover porridge. Some people even put this porridge on trees to ensure a plentiful harvest.

5. Must-Know Vocab for The Laba Rice Porridge Festival

Now that you know more about this interesting Chinese holiday, let’s look at some important vocabulary to help you better understand and celebrate it!

Someone picking out longan

  • 佛教 (Fó Jiào) — Buddhism
  • 桂圆 (guìyuán) — Longan (a fruit found in Southeast Asia)
  • 腊月 (làyuè) — Month 12 of the Chinese lunar calendar
  • 腊八 (Là bā) — Day 8 of the Chinese lunar calendar’s twelfth month
  • 粥 (zhōu) — Porridge
  • 岳飞 (Yuè Fēi) — Yue Fei (an ancient Chinese military general)
  • 蒜 (suàn) — Garlic
  • 好兆头 (hǎo zhàotou) — Good sign
  • 白米 (báimǐ) — White rice
  • 红枣 (hóng zǎo) — Dried red jujube
  • 莲子 (liánzǐ) — Lotus seed

To hear the pronunciations of these words, check out our Chinese Laba Rice Festival word list where you can hear audio recordings of each one.

Conclusion

We hope that this article provided you with all the info you need to celebrate the Laba Porridge Festival in China. What do you think is the most interesting part of this holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your home country?

If you want to learn even more about Chinese culture, be sure to visit us on ChineseClass101.com. We provide language learners with a wide array of helpful tools, from vocabulary lists to insightful blog posts. And if you want to get one-on-one training as you master Chinese, be sure to check out our MyTeacher app!

Have fun celebrating The Laba Porridge Festival, and be sure to stay tuned for more articles on Chinese holidays so that you can enjoy all of the traditional Chinese holidays!

We wish you success in your language-learning journey, and meaningful fun during your visit to China.