新年好!新年快乐!

Millions prepare to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year

 
Millions of people are preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, the most important annual holiday in much of Asia.

The new year begins on Sunday, when the new moon is seen in the sky.

In the Chinese zodiac, this year will be the year of the snake, taking over from the dragon of 2012.

In China, an estimated 200 million people are travelling to be with their families in what is considered the biggest mass human migration on Earth.

 
 
 
Vocabulary:

to take over from -

far-flung (adj) -

a spike in -

to tune in -

a theme tune -

a low key affair -

in the wake of stg -

a crackdown -

to set off (fireworks) -

wisdom (n) -

pride (n) / proud (adj) -

vast (adj) -

a crowd / crowded (adj) -

to last -

to be on the move -

to bear messages -

to slice (v,n) -

noodles (n) -

throughout (prep) -
 
 
 
 
 

 


Video Comprehension Questions:
  1. How do they call the Chinese New Year in China?
  2. How long have they been celebrating "the New Year"?
  3. What 3 things did villagers use to scare the wild beast away?
  4. What 3 things "took many lives" during the year?
  5. What change did China make in 1911?
  6. What things do they buy for the New Year celebrations?
  7. What is the significance of the colour red?
  8. What is the significance of the fish and chicken, and their heads and tails?
  9. What do they do after the New Year meal?
  10. How do they begin and end the festivities?


Austerity for Chinese New Year Source: BBC Words in the News (Listening with transcript)


Comments

José said…
Hi Graham,

I leave my comment about Chinese Lunar New Year. I did it with your help, as you know, because video questions are a bit of difficulty and thank you. My responses are:
1.- The spring festival.
2.- 2.000 b. C.
3.- Red colour, loud noise and bright light.
4.- Flood, famine and sickness.
5.- The beginning at the first day of January.
6.- Food, clothes and shoes.
7.- Happiness and abundances.
8.- Fish means abundance, chicken means good luck and heads and tails mean the beginning and the end of the year.
9.- Firecrackers and fireworks.
10.- The beginning with a parade with signal of lanterns, colours, costumes and noises. The end of holiday, switching off light.

The beast that scares to villagers must be the big dragon as it appears in the video, but the year 2012 is the year of the snake, as you say in the previous comment. I’m not sure. On the other hand, Spanish Christmas last four or five days only, while holidays of the Chinese New Year last fifteen days, it’s unbelievable.
See you.
Graham said…
Hi José,

Here's the transcript:

Bright colors, spirited parades and the pop of firecrackers, they’re the unforgettable sights and sounds of the Spring Festival commonly known in the west as Chinese New Year. It's a celebration that last 15 days - the most colourful and important holiday of the Chinese calander.

The Chinese have been celebrating the New Year since 2000 BC, but the origins of this now joyous holiday were born of fear and myth, not festivity.

An ancient Chinese legend tells the story of the wild beast "Nian" who appeared each year at the end of winter, attacking and killing villagers.

To scare the beast away, they use the color “red”, loud noise and bright light. The customs of Chinese New Year were born.

“Nian” is also the Chinese word for “year”. And much like a wild beast, the year was something to be feared as flood, famine and sickness took many lives. On the New Year, families gathered for a reunion to see who had survived and to wish the best for the year to come. Today the tradition continues as families celebrate the New Year together.

Throughout the centuries, Chinese New Year celebrations have been held at different times under different emperors. In 1911, the republic of China was established under Sun Yat-sen. Soon after the country adopted the foreign solar-based Gregorian calendar, establishing New Year celebrations for January 1st.

During the political turmoil of early 20th century, the Chinese government returned to its roots and reestablished the traditional lunar calendar to set the dates for holidays.

Chinese New Year is celebrated at the beginning of the 1st month of the lunar calendar around late January, early February on the Western calendar. People crowd city streets buying new clothes and shoes. They shop for the best firecrackers and choose special ingredients for the festive meal.

Red is the color of happiness and abundance. Auspicious symbols written on red paper hang in every store window and home to bring good fortune.

Families enjoy the New Year’s Eve feast with plate after plate of elaborate food, the most symbolic meal of the year. A whole fish stands for abundance, a chicken for good luck, both served with head and tail, symbolizing a good beginning and end for the coming year.

After the meal, elders pass out small red envelopes called “Hongbao”. Each has New Year greeting on the outside and lucky money on the inside.

On the 1st day of the New Year, people take to the streets, filling the day with the explosion of firecrackers. The celebration continues for two weeks with traditional ceremonies and days of rest.

On the 15th day, the lantern festival arrives, signalling the end of the holiday. It is a tradition that can be traced back to 200 BC, when the emperors of the Han Density lit their palace with lanterns to pay tribute to the universe.




The beast that scares the villagers must be the big dragon which appears in the video, but the year 2012 is the year of the snake, as you say in a previous comment. I’m not sure. On the other hand, Spanish Christmas lasts four or five days only, while holidays of the Chinese New Year last fifteen days, it’s unbelievable.