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Archive for the 'Chinese Holidays' Category

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!

To continue learning about Chinese culture and the language, visit us at ChineseClass101.com and create a free account! We provide fun and effective learning tools for every learner, including free Chinese vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one. You can also begin using our online community forums, and with a Premium Plus account, you can start learning Chinese one-on-one with your own personal teacher using our MyTeacher program!

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.

How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Chinese New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join ChineseClass101 for a special Chinese New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Chinese? Let a native teach you! At ChineseClass101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Chinese New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in China
  2. Must-Know Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Chinese
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Learn Chinese

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Chinese New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in China

To most Chinese people, you truly begin a brand new year only when you experience a traditional Spring Festival celebration. So even though there is a one-day public holiday for New Year’s day in January, it doesn’t really have a New Year’s celebratory atmosphere. However, in recent years, various kinds of countdown activities have become very popular among young people, and the day has become a kind of romantic holiday.

Now before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What are the lyrics to the Chinese version of the song “Happy New Year,” or Xin Nian Hao, 新年好 (xīnniánhǎo)?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Just as in many countries in the West, the most important activity when celebrating the coming new year in China is, of course, a countdown or 倒数计时 (dàoshǔ jìshí). In the bustling city areas, you will see many kinds of celebratory events. The big screens in financial districts will display the numbers as they count down, and when they hit zero, fireworks or 烟花 (yānhuā) are set off in many places to celebrate. Young people go to bars, themed restaurants hold gatherings, and people drink and dance.

In recent years, the end of the year has become the time when people go shopping because this is the day that malls offer big discounts known as Chinese Black Friday or 黑色星期五 (hēisè Xīngqīwǔ). Malls will usually extend their shopping hours and sales shifts until late at night, and their product racks will look as though a robbery has taken place overnight because they’ll be almost empty!

New Year’s Day is, of course, a good opportunity to connect with family and friends who you haven’t seen for a long time. Some years ago, it was popular to exchange New Year’s cards, called 贺年卡 (hèniánkǎ). In recent years, more and more people have been conveying their wishes and greetings via email or text message due to a desire to save trees and avoid sending physical cards.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

Do you know the lyrics to the Chinese version of the song “Happy New Year,” or 新年好, (Xīn Nián Hǎo)?

The song says 新年好呀,新年好呀,祝福 大家新年好;我们唱歌,我们跳舞,祝福大家新年好

(xīnniánhǎo yā , xīnniánhǎo yā , zhùfú dàjiā xīnniánhǎo ;wǒmen chànggē, wǒmen tiàowǔ, zhùfú dàjiā xīnniánhǎo)

Meaning “Happy new year, happy new year, wishing everyone a happy new year; we sing, we dance, wishing everyone a happy new year!” Almost everyone in China can sing it!

Happy New Year!

新年快樂!
新年快乐!
Xīnnián kuàilè !

2. Must-Know Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


nián

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in China could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

午夜
wǔyè

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

元旦
Yuándàn

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

派对
pàiduì

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

舞蹈
wǔdǎo

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

香槟
xiāngbīn

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

烟花
yānhuā

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

倒计时
dào jìshí

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

新年假期
Xīnnián jiàqī

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10-Confetti

五彩纸屑
wǔcǎi zhǐxiè

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

跨年夜
kuà nián yè

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

干杯
gānbēi

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

决心
juéxīn

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

游行
yóuxíng

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At ChineseClass101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Chinese New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Chinese word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at ChineseClass101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Chinese friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

多阅读。
Duō yuèdú.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Chinese in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Chinese language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

花更多时间陪伴家人。
Huā gèngduō shíjiān péibàn jiārén.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

减肥。
Jiǎnféi.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

存钱。
cúnqián.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to ChineseClass101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

戒烟。
Jièyān.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

学习新东西。
Xuéxí xīn dōngxi.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

少喝酒。
Shǎo hējiǔ.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

多运动。
Duō yùndòng.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

饮食健康。
Yǐnshí jiànkāng.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Chinese with ChineseClass101

跟ChineseClass101.com一起学习中文。
Gēn ChineseClass yī líng yī diǎn com yīqǐ xuéxí Zhōngwén.

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Chinese, especially with us! Learning how to speak Chinese can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. ChineseClass101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Chinese new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Chinese, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Chinese incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with ChineseClass101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Chinese could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Chinese - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Chinese - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with ChineseClass101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Chinese! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that ChineseClass101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

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  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Chinese at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
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How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese

How to Say Merry Christmas in Chinese

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese? ChineseClass101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Chinese Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Chinese speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, ChineseClass101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in China
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in China

Christmas Words in Chinese

December 25 is Christmas, a traditional Western festival with religious origins. In recent years, Christmas has become a popularly celebrated holiday in China, too. Let’s go over the differences between Western and Chinese Christmas customs.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

The Chinese have incorporated many customs of their own into Christmas celebrations, such as the “Christmas Fruit.” Do you know what this is?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Though Christmas is not an official public holiday in Mainland China, the Chinese have increasingly embraced the celebration of this holiday since the economic reform and opening-up policy, or 改革开放 (gǎigé kāifàng). It is, however, a public holiday in Macau, which took influence from the Portuguese. Similarly, Hong Kong also observes a three-day holiday for Christmas, spanning from December 24 to December 26.

Christmas celebrations in China have distinctly Chinese characteristics. Some of these customs are fascinating, while others may be confusing. In the West, Christmas is a time for family reunions, while in China, people more often go out in groups and see a movie, go to karaoke, or go shopping as a way to celebrate Christmas.

China’s economy is always at its best during Christmas time, as Christmas provides plenty of business opportunities, or 商机 (shāngjī), and big profits. Christmas Eve is the country’s biggest day for shopping and sales. Shops and restaurants all play along with the Christmas theme, adding to the Christmassy atmosphere. Many movies are shown at Christmas time, as the holiday is also seen as a day for romance.

In China, Santa Claus, or 圣诞老人 (Shèngdànlǎorén) is depicted differently than in the West. Most notably, the Chinese interpretation of Santa plays the saxophone, or sometimes alternatively the French horn, violin, or trumpet. This aspect of Santa’s image most likely started as a commercial campaign, but over time developed into a key aspect of his persona.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

The Chinese have incorporated many customs of their own into Christmas celebrations, such as the “Christmas Fruit.” Do you know what this is?

The “Christmas Fruit” or 圣诞果 (Shèngdàn guǒ) is an apple, which is the most common Christmas gift in China. The apple was appointed as the Christmas fruit because in Chinese, the word for apple is a homophone of “Christmas Eve”. Christmas Eve is 圣诞夜 (Shèngdànyè), while “apple” is 圣诞果 (Shèngdàn guǒ). With the help of special packaging, common apples are turned into expensive gifts.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

圣诞节快乐!
Shèngdàn Jié kuàilè!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

宽扎节快乐!
Kuān zhā jié kuàilè!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

新年快乐!
Xīnnián kuàilè !

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

光明节快乐!
guāngmíng jié kuàilè !

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

寒假快乐!
hánjià kuàilè !

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

明年见!
Míngnián jiàn!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

致以温馨的祝福!
zhìyǐ wēnxīn de zhùfú!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Chinese Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

节日快乐!
Jiérì kuàilè!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Chinese, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

好好享受假期!
hǎohao xiǎngshòu jiàqī !

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

祝新的一年一切都好!
zhù xīn de yì nián yíqiè dōuhǎo !

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Chinese! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At ChineseClass101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

圣诞节
Shèngdàn Jié

This is the Chinese word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Chinese will include this word!

2- Snow

雪花
xuěhuā

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

雪花
xuěhuā

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

雪人
xuěrén

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

火雞
huǒjī

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

花环
huāhuán

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

驯鹿
xúnlù

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

圣诞老人
Shèngdàn Lǎorén

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

精灵
jīnglíng

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

红鼻子驯鹿鲁道夫
hóngbízi xúnlù Lǔdàofū

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

北极
Běi Jí

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

雪橇
xuěqiāo

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

礼物
lǐwù

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell


líng

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

烟囱
yāncong

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

壁炉
bìlú

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

圣诞节
Shèngdàn Jié

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

装饰
zhuāngshì

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

长袜
chǎng wà

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

冬青
dōngqīng

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

姜饼房
jiāngbǐng fáng

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

拐杖糖
guǎizhàng táng

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

槲寄生
hújìshēng

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Chinese, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Chinese! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. ChineseClass101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit ChineseClass101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Chinese for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Chinese, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, ChineseClass101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Chinese. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in ChineseClass101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

Learn Chinese Direct from Beijing with ChineseClass101.com

Dear Chinese Students,

Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of ChineseClass101.com. This is a joint project between Popup Chinese and the folks at Innovative Language Learning.

If you’re familiar with the Innovative Language approach to teaching, you’ll know the strength of their materials has always been tight, step-by-step progressive lessons for beginners. At Popup Chinese, we’ve historically geared our materials towards more advanced students, so when we had the chance to cooperate with the Innovative team and work together to build something that could take advantage of the powerful system they’ve already built we leapt at the chance, and began work designing a focused and stepwise program for Mandarin instruction.

Although a few hints leaked out (*ahem*), for the past few months we’ve worked somewhat stealthily to build the best team possible for the task. You’ll find our progressive beginner lessons hosted by none other than the famous Frank Fradella. Other big names on our roster are Amber Scorah and of course everyone on our existing team like Echo Yao and Brendan O’Kane. This is a great team and I can say with confidence I’ve never worked with a stronger one. With more than 100 lessons on the new site, our content is off to a good start too. As Frank said once after a marathon recording session, “our first twenty lessons here teach more than I learned in a whole year studying elsewhere.”

We think this is a great step forward and look forward to hearing your feedback and thoughts as well. It is definitely a major step forward for Chinese language education online. There’s never been a better time to learn Chinese, or a better way to learn it online. Regardless of whether you’re an advanced independent learner or a total newbie, we hope you’ll enjoy the work we’ll be doing both here and at ChineseClass101. Thanks for your support, and 加油 everyone!

Best from Beijing,

David Lancashire

Best from New York,

Amber Scorah