Culture

Festivals

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China is a country with a long history of about 5,000 years so there are many traditional festivals. 

Chinese New Year zhōng guó xīn nián / 中国新年  is the most important festival in China.

zhōng guó xīn nián /中国新年 - Chinese New Year

xīn nián kuài lè!/ 新年快乐 - Happy New Year!

Celebrations don’t take place on the 31st of December but at the end of winter and the beginning of spring, so each year it happens at a different time. In China, Chinese New Year is also known as chūn jié / 春节 the Spring Festival. 

chūn jié / 春节 - Spring Festival

On Chinese New Year’s Eve many people set off fireworks. This is to scare off a monster called Nian that’s afraid of three things: the colour red, fire and loud noise. 

chú xì / 除夕 - Chinese New Year’s Eve

It is traditional to eat dumplings jiǎo zǐ / 饺子 when the bell tolls midnight. This is because jiǎo zǐ / 饺子 sounds like how you say ‘change of the year and the day’ in Mandarin.

jiǎo zi / 饺子 - dumplings

wǒ xǐhuān chī jiǎozi /我喜欢吃饺子 - I like to eat dumplings.

The Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern festival. This is celebrated on the evening of the 15th day of the lunar month. 

People light lots of different colourful lanterns, like animal lanterns, palace lanterns, flower lanterns or toy lanterns. They also eat tasty rice dumplings. 

tāng yuán / 汤圆 - rice dumplings

yuán xiāo jié / 元宵节 - The Lantern Festival

wǒ xǐhuān chī tāngyuán。/ 我喜欢吃汤圆 - I like to eat rice dumplings.

The Pure Brightness Day qīng míng jiē / 清明节 is an ancient tradition. On this day people sweep the graves of their ancestors and go for a walk in the countryside.

qīng míng jié / 清明节 - Pure Brightness Day

For the Dragon Boat Festival duān wǔ jiē / l端午节 you can eat zòng zǐ  / 粽子 (pyramid-shaped dumpling made of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo or leaves) and watch people race each other in dragon shaped boats. 

duān wǔ jié / 端午节 - The Dragon Boat Festival

nǐ xǐhuān sài lóng zhōu ma?/ 你喜欢赛龙舟吗 - Do you like dragon boat racing?

The Mid-Autumn Festival zhōngqiūjié / 中秋节 a day when people admire the full moon. They eat moon cakes yuè bǐng / 月饼 which are round and can be sweet or salty and have meat or fruit filling.

zhōngqiūjié / 中秋节 - Mid-Autumn Festival

yuè liàng / 月亮 - moon

yuè bǐng / 月饼 - moon cake

wǒ yào chī tián de yuèbǐng。/ 我要吃甜的月饼 - I want to eat sweet moon cake.