HHappy New Year! 新年快乐! Chinese New
Year is coming. Chinese New year is also called Spring Festival 春节 [ chūn jié ]. The
whole festival usually last about 15 days. During these 15 days, Chinese people follow
many traditions celebrating with their families and giving offerings to their gods. We are
going to release videos covering various topics relating to Spring Festival history, food,
traditions and more. Subscribe to our channel now and stay tuned!
Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration in China. Depending on the Chinese Lunar Calendar,
Chinese New Year usually lies between late January and early February. Why there is no
specific day for Chinese New Year? It is because the Chinese Lunar calendar is based on a combination
of lunar and solar movements, and therefore the date of Chinese New Year is adjusted every year. The day before Chinese New year is New Year’s
Eve, most Chinese people are already on their way home from the cities. Traveling a long
distance can be stressful. Chinese people have to plan ahead buying train or bus tickets
to go home for a family reunion. While children are rushing to go home, parents are very busy
getting their houses clean. We call it Spring cleaning, 大扫除 [dà sǎo chú] dusting,
sweeping the floor and cleaning furniture. Chinese people believe that in order to receive
the “new luck” 新的 [ xīn de], you have to sweep the “bad luck” 旧的[ jiù de].
All the cleaning has to be done before the end of New year ‘s Eve. So let’s learn a phrase
to capture this meaning. 除旧迎新 [ chú jiù yíng xīn ].
Besides cleaning, parents will also do lots of shopping for Chinese New Year celebration.
In Chinese, we call it 办年货 [ bàn nián huò ], here 办 [bàn] means making a big
purchase, 年 [ nián ] is year and 货[ huò ] is goods. 办年货 [ bàn nián huò ] means
to make a big purchase of goods that the family has been wanting since the beginning of the
year. In the old times, 年货 [nián huò ] was a long list and that includes fresh
ingredients for cooking, new clothing and even New Year snacks for visitors. Just imagine
you have to save up for a year to buy what you want for the new year. For some families,
they had to save up for a year to buy a whole chicken for Chinese New Year. Today, the long
list doesn’t seem exist anymore since many Chinese people are wealthier than ever. They
are no longer have to wait until the new year to buy what they want.
While their shopping habits may have changed, they never change the tradition of pasting
New Year’s banners, or in Chinese we call them 春联 [ chūn lián ], spring couplets.
A spring couplet is a pair of connected lucky phrases written on red paper. Above the door
is a short lucky phrase, Then on both sides of the door, there is a pair of spring couplets.
In the old times, Chinese people read from right to left, up to down. Today, it is still
true when you read Chinese poems or literature. But, the Chinese language is flexible and
in Modern Chinese we read from left to right. For this reason, you may find people pasting
spring couplets from left to right. The lines rhyme because they are from old literature.
For the younger generations, they may go buy printed spring couplets. But for the older
generations, like my grandfather, they like to write their own spring couplets with a
brush and then paste them on a door to express the good wishes for their family members.
Before we say goodbye, let’s learn a sentence. Pasting spring couplets is a traditional custom
in China. 贴春联是中国的传统习俗 [ tiē chūn lián shì Zhōng guó de chuán
tǒng xí sú ].