When someone wishes you a Happy Valentine’s day, you’d expect a gift of chocolates (qiǎokèlì 巧克力) or roses (méigui huā 玫瑰花）. The supplementary vocabulary on the valentine’s lesson below shows that even in China these gifts have become the most common ones to give.
Chinese New Year means many different things to different people around the world. It’s a time when
kids get excited for the fattest hóngbāo｜红包; a time of grand feasts consisting of dumplings, fish, and sweet glutinous rice soup (tāngyuán｜汤圆). Perhaps most importantly, it’s a time of family reunions, marking the world’s largest migration every year as hundred of millions of people return to their hometowns scattered across the Chinese mainland. As we officially close off this New Year’s celebrations with the Lantern Festival (Yuánxiāo jié｜元宵节), I encourage you to think about what defines Chinese New Year for you. Reflect back to your most memorable Chinese New Year and what exactly made it so memorable. In sharing mine with you, I’d like to rewind back five years ago to Taiwan, which in many ways still feels like yesterday.
Gifting red envelopes (红包 hóngbāo) stuffed with cash to family and friends is one of the most ancient customs of the Spring Festival. But with the invention of social media, the long-standing tradition developed a new face — a digital one.
The longer you live in China, the more you grow to appreciate its culture, especially the festivals. There’s awesome food and lively performances but most importantly, very long holidays. 春节 Chūnjié is no different. With 5 years on the mainland, I celebrated quite a few, each better and more authentic than the other. And even though I have returned to the western side of the globe, at this time of year, my heartstrings always tug eastward. Reminisce with me a bit.
Chinese New Year is widely considered to be the most important holiday in China. Known in Mandarin as Chūnjié｜春节 or Guònián｜过年, it is a period symbolized by family reunion (tuánjù|团聚), and represented by various customs that Chinese people across the world take part in over a span of several weeks leading up to and following the start of the new year. This month, as we get ready to say goodbye to the Monkey and welcome in the Fire Rooster, remember, just as so many people around the world celebrate Christmas regardless of culture and ethnicity, you don’t have to be Chinese or living in China to celebrate Chinese New Year. This special holiday is really about family, a fresh start, and good wishes for you and your loved ones. True to the essence of Chinese New Year, here are 6 simple things you can do this year to join in on the festivities and bring happiness to those around you, wherever you may be in the world.