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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 4, National Day. In Chinese, it’s called 国庆节 (Guóqìngjié).
October 1, 1949 is the anniversary of the founding of the new China. It has come to be known as National Day. Usually there is a seven-day holiday for National Day, which is a very big festival. So what’s different about China’s National Day, and how do people celebrate it? Let’s learn about it in this lesson!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
On National Day, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square or 天安门广场 (Tiānānménguǎngchǎng), is always more crowded than usual, but do you know why?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Military parades or 阅兵 (yuèbīng) have been an important part of National Day ceremonies since the founding of new China. Military parades are considered to be a display of a nation’s achievements, and a means of building confidence and pride among the people, so they are considered very important to the government. On the 5th, 10th, and other notable anniversaries of the founding of the nation, there is a Grand Ceremony or 大典 (dà diǎn) on Beijing’s Chang’an Street. The most recent one was in 2009, during the 60th National Day grand military parade. The most important one was held during the nation’s founding ceremony in 1949.
The army, navy, and air force’s special teams’ representatives participate in the military parade, but students or 学生 (xuéshēng) and civilians also form teams and perform in Tiananmen Square. Each military parade mobilizes over ten thousand people, who train for a full year. The whole military parade is broadcast live by each major TV station.
Beijing is the capital and the center of the Chinese government, so during every National Day, Beijing, and especially Tiananmen Square in Beijing, is very crowded. Tiananmen Square is politically important to many Chinese people in the present day. Earlier I mentioned that the 1949 national founding ceremony was held in Tiananmen City’s buildings. Many Chinese people choose to come to Tiananmen Square early in the morning on October 1, National Day, to witness the flag-raising ceremony and to express their patriotism or 爱国主义 (àiguózhǔyì).
In every country the exchanges between the parade head and the troops during a military parade are unique. The exchanges during a Chinese military parade are—“Greetings, comrades!” “Greetings, director.” “Comrades, you have worked hard!” “For the people!” This is an exchange that everyone is familiar with and which has become a way that many young people greet each other; it is very refreshing and humorous.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
On National Day, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square or 天安门广场 (Tiānānménguǎngchǎng), is always more crowded than usual. Do you know why?
It’s because every National Day there is a flowerbed exhibition in Tiananmen Square. Every year there are exhibitions designed around themes based on China’s economy, social development, and so on. Pictures made of fresh flowers decorate the square, which becomes very beautiful and attracts tourists from various parts of the country.
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn lots of interesting things?
How do people celebrate National Day in your country? Please leave a comment telling us at ChineseClass101.com, and I’ll see you in our next lesson!