Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Chinese New Year


									 Chinese New Year in Taiwan

         Thought Questions
         Key Words
         Suggested Articles
            New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year
            Celebrating Chinese New Year
            2001: the Year of the Snake
         Learning Activities

February 01, 2001     Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School   1
Thought Questions
 When is Chinese New Year this year?
 What do Chinese people usually do to celebrate for Chinese
  New Year?
 What customs do we have on Chinese New Year?
 What New Year festivities do you know?
 What Chinese New Year food do we usually have?

February 01, 2001    Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School         2
Key Words
    Chinese New Year‟s Eve 除夕夜                       the Year of the Snake 蛇年
    New Year‟s Day / the first day of the
                                                      zodiac animals 十二生肖
     new year 年初一
    clean the house                                  New Year„s Money / lucky money
    throw away all the garbage 丟垃圾                   hung bao /red envelops 紅包
    post spring couplets 春聯                          lucky words 吉祥話
    eat New Year„s Eve Dinner 年夜飯                    taboos 禁忌
    stay up all night 熬夜                             long vegetables 長年菜
    return to the natal home/ go back to             rice cakes 年糕
     the daughter„s home 回娘家
                                                      water dumplings 水餃
    feast with sb. / eat a large dinner
     with sb. 和人盡情吃喝                                  relatives, friends, family 親友家人
    visit temples 去廟裡                                folk activities 民俗活動
    make New Year„s visits 拜年                        festivities 慶祝活動
    set off firecrackers 放鞭炮                         upcoming 將到的
    worship the ancestors 祭祖                         congratulations 恭喜
    watch dragon dancing/ tiger dancing

February 01, 2001            Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                           3
February 01, 2001   Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School   4
New Year‟s Eve & Chinese New Year

 The bustle 喧囂 and clamor 吵雜 at the markets selling colorful spring
  couplets and other New Year„s decorations. Beginning in mid-
  December, families all around China start preparing for Chinese New
  Year, making the feeling of celebration and renewal 更新 palpable 可覺
 A time of gratitude and family togetherness和睦, New Year„s Eve is
  spent by bidding farewell to the old year and thanking one‟s ancestors
  祖先 and the gods神祇 for their blessing and protection保佑. Children
  that have left their hometown return on this day to share New Year„s
  Eve Dinner with their families, and for those unable to make the journey,
  a table setting is placed to symbolize象徵 their presence in spirit if not
  in body.
 At the end of dinner, the parents and older generation 長輩 give New
  Year's Money to the children, who have been waiting with growing
  anticipation for this moment to arrive. Finally, to watch the old year out
  and bring in the new year, families stay up all night until the wee hours
  of New Year's Day.

February 01, 2001       Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                      5
 With the arrival 到來 of New Year„s Day, life is renewed and the new
  year begins to unfold amidst 在~之間 a din 喧囂 of firecrackers. The
  Chinese begin the day by worshipping their ancestors, following which
  the streets become filled with people making New Year's visits to
  friends and relatives and with the lively display of dragon dancing, tiger
  dancing, and other folk activities.
 To insure the arrival of luck 好運 and wealth財富 in the new year,
  several taboos must be heeded. Floors may not be swept and garbage
  may not be disposed for fear of casting riches out the door; cussing 咒
  罵 and quarreling is to be avoided at all costs; and anyone who breaks
  a dish on this day must quickly say “Peace for all time,” to avoid
  incurring 招致 misfortune.
 On the second day of the new year, married 已婚的 women return to
  their natal home 回娘家 to visit family; on the fourth day, the gods
  return to the world of the living; and on the fifth day, many new stores
  and businesses open their doors for the first time due to the
  auspiciousness 吉祥 of the day. The festive air of celebration continues
  in this manner all the way up to the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day
  of the new year before slowly ebbing back 退回 to normal life again.

February 01, 2001        Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                     6
 Though the customary festivities 慶祝活動 held on Chinese New
     Year have been handed down for millennia, they still retain
     tremendous significance today. The cleaning and arrangement
     of one„s living environment improves household sanitation 居家
     衛生 and symbolizes a new beginning; the worship of ancestors
     and deities a reflects of the Chinese particularity about filial piety
     孝道 and family ethics 倫理, and services as an expression of
     gratitude; sitting around the hearth symbolizes unity 團圓 and
     the value of spending important occasions together with family;
     and the customs of making New Year„s visits and returning
     home to one‟s parents after marriage helps to maintain
     important social bonds 關係 between friends and families.
     Superstitious 迷信的 taboos, may perhaps be seen as ancient
     ways of harmonizing and regulating one„s lifestyle 生活方式.
     Thus, preserving and incorporating 融入 the values of these
     New Year traditions into modern day life is a goal we should all
     strive for 努力.

February 01, 2001        Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                    7
 While the Western 西方的 New Year can be celebrated in one
  evening (not including the next day„s hangover 殘留物), the
  Chinese New Year is spread out over a month with delicious
  food, tradition, and worship 拜拜.
 Preparations for the Chinese New Year began January 2nd,
  which is the 12th month and 8th day of the "Nong Li" (the
  traditional Chinese lunar calendar). In Chinese, the 12th moon
  is referred to as La Yue. La Yue marked the beginning of
  winter. Because of the coldness brought with the 12th moon,
  there is a Chinese saying "it is so cold that your chin will fall
  off." In Chinese, chin: "ba" and eight: "ba" have the same
  sound, so January 2nd marked the beginning of eating "La Ba
  Zhou," a congee with eight different kinds of beans and nuts,
  bringing in the cold season and symbolizing the coming of the
  Chinese New Year.

February 01, 2001     Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School               8
 "Nong Li" 12/16 (January 10th) is the second important day
     leading the Chinese New Year called “Wei Ya,” and marks
     Grandfather Earth„s last birthday for the year of the dragon.
     Every lunar month, Grandfather Earth has two birthdays, one on
     the 2nd and one on the 16th. Traditionally, on this day the heads
     of companies treat 招待 their employees to a large dinner or
     celebration. However, the employees need to watch out. If
     chicken is served at the table, whomever the chicken head
     points to usually indicates that that person will not be invited
     back for the upcoming year 來年. In other words, they're fired.
     "Today, however," remarks National Taiwan Normal University
     Professor Lu, "because the Chinese word for chicken 'ji' also
     sounds like 'lucky,' people tend to turn the chicken head inwards
     toward the chicken's body, so that everyone will have good luck
     in the New Year.“

February 01, 2001       Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                9
 "Little New Year," Nong Li 12/23 in the north, or 12/24 in the
     south (January 17th or 18th this month), marks the “Sending the
     Gods to Heaven” day. By moving the Buddha or spirit from it„s
     resting place, it is sent to Heaven. “In traditional China, most
     families had a picture of the God of the Hearth 灶神 on their
     stove opening. In the morning on this day, the wife of the house
     would put a little bit of sweet filling on the spirit's mouth. Then, in
     the afternoon, when the household cleaned the hearth and
     removed the picture to send the spirit back to heaven, hopefully
     the spirit would speak sweet words about the family to the other
     Gods, and grant them a New Year of peace,“ Lu explained. This
     is the only day all year that people can move Buddha‟s or other
     Spirits from their shrines 神龕.

February 01, 2001         Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                    10
 New Year„s eve this year is Nong Li 12/29 (January 23rd), and
  marks the color red, with firecrackers and an all-night long
  celebration. Wang, a shop owner in Yong He, explains: “We
  hang signs in red not only because it means luck and prosperity
  興旺, but because red will scare away the evil animal New Year
  represents. Firecrackers do the same. Staying up all night
  started because in traditional China, all the generations of a
  family would live together. The older generation could not go out,
  so the younger generations would stay awake and protect them
  until the New Year had passed. Nowadays, most people stay up
  and play mahjong.“
 New Year„s Eve is also a time of feasting with 盡情吃喝 the
  family. In the evening, everyone returns home to pay respect to
  致意 their ancestors and eat a large dinner with the family. For
  those who cannot return, a setting of a rice bowl 飯碗 and
  chopsticks are placed.

February 01, 2001     Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School            11
Fish implies "remaining"
   Traditional New Years Eve food is not eaten just for good
    taste alone; many have double meanings bringing hopes
    for the New Year. For example, dumplings represent little
    bundles of money and riches for the New Year because of
    their shape, and long vegetables cooked and eaten without
    cutting them represent long life.
   Fish: "yu" in Chinese, also sounds like "remaining" and
    consequently, should not be finished. "If you finish it,
    people won't have anything left to bring into the New Year,"
    warns National Taiwan University student Emily Chen. "On
    the same note, you have to throw away all your garbage
    before the New Year, because after New Year's day, if you
    throw anything out, it is like throwing away your money, or
    throwing away hopes of earning money in the coming

February 01, 2001     Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School            12
   The month of the New Year in Chinese is called "He Zheng,"
    and means, "congratulations, everyone still lives." So on the
    first day of the New Year, many people visit temples, eat
    vegetarian to honor life, and visit friends and family to wish
    them a good start to the Chinese New Year. "Traditionally,"
    Professor Lu explains, "People would go visit friends and
    family in person, but today, with e-mail and cell-phones, it has
    all become much less personal."
   The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days (one moon cycle).
    The second day of the New Year is known as “Going Back to
    the Daughter„s Home.” Each husband accompanies his wife to
    her parent‟s home. “One time we didn„t even make it because
    the traffic was so congested 擁塞,” remembered Julie Wang,
    a stockbroker 股票經紀人 in Taipei. "Everyone is on the road
    at the same time, you can't get anywhere." This is also
    Grandfather Earth's first birthday of the New Year.

February 01, 2001      Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School               13
Businesses open
 On the fifth day of the New Year, businesses open their doors again to
  start the New Year and welcome back employees. Mr. Chen, a
  manager in Hsinzhu remarked, "I go into work to open up the office, but
  we usually don't start up for another couple of days or so. I greet the
  employees for a few hours if they want to come by, but then go back
  home. Traditionally, this is to bring our company good luck for the
  upcoming year."
 The ninth day of the New Year is the Father of Heaven's birthday, and
  because he is the most important spirit, this is celebrated at 11pm the
  night before. The time 11pm is thought to be the start of each day
  during Chinese New Year, so the first deed of the ninth day is offerings
  of respect. The Father of Heaven's alter is rested on a table or chair to
  represent his elevated position, and only fruits and special goods can
  be offered, his position is too high to present either meat or fish.
 The last day of the New Year is celebrated by drinking Yuan Hsiao or
  Tang Yuan: special sweet soups with little round balls of dough filled
  with different flavors of bean paste 糰. A sweet end to a sweet
  beginning for the New Year.

February 01, 2001       Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                     14
  By Erin Dawson, Special to The China Post

 As the Year of the Snake will officially start with the beginning of
  Chinese New Year on January 24th, many people are divided
  over what the Year of Snake will bring. Many people refer to the
  snake as "a little dragon," and find it an inauspicious sign
  representing danger and mistrust, while others believe that
  people born in the year of the snake are resourceful, powerful,
  and cunning. These two beliefs come from different
  interpretations of the same story.
 According to the fable, there was once a snake Goddess, who
  was so powerful that she could change herself into a person and
  walk amongst the mortal world. During her time in the mortal
  world, she fell in love with a mortal man, which was against the
  rules of Heaven, but the snake Goddess did not listen and broke
  these rules to be with the mortal.

 February 01, 2001                   Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School   15
 However, a monk named Hai Fa discovered that the wife was not a
  mortal woman and separated the couple, sentencing the snake
  Goddess to live below the temple's pagodas, or face death. The moral
  people take away from the story varies and leaves the interpretation of
  the snake unclear.
 "I see it as the snake having enough courage and will to follow her
  heart. She is strong and determined," commented Melody Chu, a
  National Taiwan Normal University student.
 Her classmate Amy Lu held a different view: "The snake went against
  Heaven, and made the other spirits angry. She is willful to a fault, and
  stubborn. Like the tiger, the snake will scare away good spirits.“
 According to the astrological charts, a person born in the year of the
  snake is “wise and intense, but vain 自負. Passionate and determined,
  the snake is a deep-thinker, but may tend to dismiss people too quickly.
  The snake is good with money, but also tends to be too stingy. The
  rooster and the ox are the snake's closest signs while the pig is its

February 01, 2001       Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                16
  As for why the Chinese zodiac has 12 animals, there are
   many stories. According to Historian Chang Liang-wang, a
   more popular version comes from the "Lun-heng," by Wang
   Chung of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD). The Jade
   Emperor was looking for 12 creatures to match the 12 earthly
   branches, so he decided to hold a race in which the first 12
   would be chosen in the order they came in. A section of the
   race crossed a river. The cat and the rat, who were not great
   swimmers, begged the water buffalo to carry them across.
   The water buffalo agreed, but half way across, the rat
   pushed the cat into the river.
  As the buffalo reached the bank, the rat jumped off its back
   and took first. The buffalo came in second and the snake
   eventually placed sixth, which will bring in this Chinese New

February 01, 2001     Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School            17
Learning Activities
 Film Discussion
      – Spend some time to watch one of the films with your group
        members and then discuss what the film is about. One of
        you needs to do an oral presentation in class.

 E-mail correspondence
      – Exchanging your e-diary via e-mails with international key
        pals. You may also attach several pictures about Chinese
        New Year for him or her in the mails.

February 01, 2001       Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School            18
 Assignment
      – Hand in your written draft on “2001--The Year of the Little
        Dragon” next week. Think about the following questions
        before writing the report.
            • How do you like Chinese New Year?
            • What did your family do to celebrate for Chinese New Year?
              Start to describe the activities from New Year‟s Eve to the fifth
              day of the new year.
            • How much lucky money do you have this year? And how are
              you going to spend it?
            • What are your New Year wishes for the Little Dragon Year?

February 01, 2001           Badi Chen, St. Paul's High School                     19

To top