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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in China Series at ChineseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Chinese holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 2, Chinese New Year. In Chinese, it’s called 春节 (chūnjié).
This is 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 first day of the new lunar year is called 大年初一 (Dànián chūyī) which means “the first day of the year.” The fifteenth day of the first month, which is the first full moon, 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.
Now before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What is the biggest taboo during the Spring Festival?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
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.” Chinese people believe that a new year must be a new beginning, so the whole house must be swept clean inside and out to clear away all the bad luck of the previous year. After the rooms are cleaned, people will 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?”
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
What is the biggest taboo during the Spring Festival?
During the Spring Festival, you are not supposed to say anything unlucky. For example, when a pair of chopsticks drops to the floor, 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 .
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn lots of interesting things?
Is there a superstition about saying certain things on certain days in your country?
Please leave a comment letting us know at ChineseClass101.com, and I’ll see you in our next lesson!

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ChineseClass101.comVerified
Monday at 6:30 pm
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Is there a superstition about saying certain things on certain days in your country?

ChineseClass101.com
Monday at 11:38 pm
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Hello Chakamorn,


It is indeed a taboo to cry during Chinese New Year, it is believed that crying brings bad luck, as people normally cry when bad things happen. I've never heard of the crying until next year saying thou. 😄


Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Chakamorn
Saturday at 9:57 pm
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I heard that 'If you cry in Chinese New Year,you will cry until next year.'I would like to ask that does this belief ever existed in China?

Steven
Friday at 7:59 pm
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New Year's Day is celebrated by being cool