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Lesson Transcript

Paste from Google Docs in hereHello, 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 5, Labor Day. In Chinese, it’s called 劳动节 (Láodòngjié).
In this lesson we will learn about Labor Day, also called 五一黄金周 (Wǔyī Huángjīnzhōu), meaning 5-1 Golden Week, because it is celebrated on May 1 every year. That’s why Chinese people generally call Labor Day “5-1.”
Now before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Which Asian country besides China also celebrates Golden Week?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
These days, people are used to taking a long vacation or 长假旅游 (chángjiǎ lǚyóu), during 5-1 Golden Week. But this is a way of life that has only become popular within the last few years. To meet domestic demand, the government announced a plan for a continuous five-day or even a seven-day public holiday to encourage people to go on faraway trips to boost the economy’s development. Every Golden Week sees 300-400 million tourists visiting areas across the country...so many people!
So which places are the most popular during 5-1? China has many areas rich with beautiful natural landscapes and places of cultural interest, and every tourist attraction gets very crowded. You should try to avoid these places—large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Macau, Hong Kong, and places with famous scenery such as Chengdu in Sichuan, Gulangyu in Xiamen, and Sanya in Hainan. There are other famous mountains and rivers, called 名山大川 (míng shān dà chuān) in Chinese, that also attract large crowds.
For Labor Day, many companies will give their employees presents before the day itself to convey their gratitude. Some companies will give their workers daily necessities, such as cooking oil, flour, and even organic vegetables; some companies will also give money and gift cards; still other companies will give air tickets to holiday destinations, and so on.
Just as I mentioned earlier, please imagine tens of thousands of people travelling long-distances in the same week. It’s bound to cause large-scale traffic jams or 交通大拥挤 (jiāotōng dà yōngjǐ). Even though the high-speed rail system that runs from north to south is slowly easing the passenger burden on local trains and planes, large numbers of people will always be a problem. It’s actually wiser not to go anywhere on 5-1. Why not relax at home during this rare long holiday?
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Which Asian country besides China also celebrates Golden Week?
The only country besides China with a Golden Week is Japan. In fact, it was Japan that first promoted this holiday plan. Like in China, many families there choose to spend this holiday by taking a trip.
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn lots of interesting things?
Does your country celebrate Labor Day? If it does, how do people celebrate it? Please leave a comment letting us know at ChineseClass101.com, and I’ll see you in our next lesson!