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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: Do Chinese people celebrate Christmas?
Traditionally, people in China don't celebrate Christmas. As you know, Christmas is a Christian holiday, while the majority of religious people in China are Buddhists.
However, under the influence of globalization, Chinese people are more aware of this Western holiday. “Christmas” in Chinese is 圣诞节 Shèngdàn Jié, which literally means “holy saint” or “God born festival.” 圣诞节 is now highly commercialized by businesses to make money. During Christmastime, “shopping malls,” or 商场 (shāngchǎng), often have “big discounts,” called 打折 (dǎzhé). They also have “sales,” or 促销 (cùxiāo), to attract shoppers, even though people aren’t really shopping for Christmas presents. Most people who celebrate, either by going shopping or going to a party, simply enjoy the holiday atmosphere and the taste of a different culture.
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, 春节 (chūn jié) in Chinese, on the other hand, would be the counterpart of Western Christmas in China. It's the biggest holiday of all, when families get together, enjoy a big feast, and celebrate the coming of a new year.
春节 falls on the 30th day in the 12th month in the lunar calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually falls in late January or February.
Instead of decorating Christmas trees, Chinese people decorate their house with red things. They put up “red paper cuts,” called 剪纸 (jiǎnzhǐ), on the windows and a big upside down character 福 (fú), which means “bliss and fortune,” on the front door. They also hang up “red lanterns,” or 灯笼 (dēnglóng), and other items. Instead of exchanging presents, children get 红包 hóngbāo, which is a “red envelope” with money in it.
And, of course, there's food. 饺子 (jiǎozi) “dumplings,” 鸡 jī “chickens,” 鸭 (yā) “ducks,” and 鱼 (yú) “fish” are common New Year dishes.
People usually get 7 days off to celebrate 春节. Each day, they visit different members of the family, giving each other New Year’s wishes and eating together!


Tell us about your holiday experience. It could be Christmas, Chinese New Year, or any special holiday in your country! We look forward to hearing from you.
That’s it for today. See you in the next episode!
今天就到这里。我们下期再见!Jīntiān jiù dào zhèli. Wǒmen xià qī zàijiàn!