Cam: Welcome to Chinese Studio everyone… thanks for spending important Spring Festival days with us.
YJ: We are learning all about China’s biggest festival this week, so let’s get started!
Key words of the day
dinner on lunar new year’s eve年夜饭 glutinous rice pudding, 年糕，jiao zi 饺子，set off firecrackers 放鞭炮，gift money, 压岁钱， all in today’s Chinese Studio
C: Yajie, how do Chinese people celebrate chu2 xi1, lunar new year’s eve? I’m pretty curious about it because I want to know the difference between this eve and x’mas eve.
Y: Usually a large family dinner is served, and we call it 年夜饭
C: nian2 ye4 fan4
Y: and there are two main kinds of food in the southern and northern parts of China.
C: I’ve heard of jiao3 zi before. Where is it more popular?
Y: Usually it’s more popular in the north. It’s a kind of steamed dumpling. And in the south of China, a kind of sticky-sweet glutinous rice pudding called nian2 gao1 is served.
C: I see, jiao3 zi for the north and nian2 gao1 for the south. Then what else will you have?
Y: Dishes such as chicken and fish cannot be excluded, for in Chinese, their pronunciations, mean auspiciousness and abundance.
C: interesting, what are their pronunciations?
Y: ji1 for chicken, which stands for auspiciousness.
Y: yu2, fish,
C: yu2, for abundance
C: what are some other customs on chu2 xi1, lunar new year’s eve?
Y: the whole family will stay up till midnight to see the new year in, and it’s called “守岁” .
C: shou3 sui4.
Y: then when it’s midnight, you can hear people setting off firecrackers. It’s pretty loud. Although such a tradition is completely or partially forbidden in big cities, people still miss this age-long custom.
C: what’s the Chinese for setting off firecrackers?
Y: it’s fang4 bian1 pao4. 放鞭炮
C: fang4 bian1 pao4.
Y: fang4 means to set off,
Y:bian1 pao4, firecrackers,
C: bian1 pao4.
Y: fang4 bian1 pao4.
C:fang4 bian1 pao4. set off firecrackers.
Y: Cam, I remember when I was a kid, I loved the spring festival
C: Why? Is it because you can get presents from Santa?
Y: haha, not really… because it’s the time for me to get gift money.
C: what is that?
Y: it’s given by my parents. That’s one thing I love about spring festival. The anticipation with which children like me look forward to Spring Festival can only be matched by that of children like you in the West who dream of Santa Claus with presents.
C: then how do you say gift money in Chinese?
Y: it’s ya 1 sui4 qian2. 压岁钱
C: ya1 sui4 qian2.
Y: ya1 means to reduce,
Y: sui4 means age
Y: qian2, means money,
Y: ya 1 sui4 qian2. Age-Reduce Money. In this way, parents think it can reduce my age, which is a symbol of love.
C: So they don’t want you to grow up by giving you ya 1 sui4 qian2.
Key words of the day
dinner on lunar new year’s eve年夜饭 glutinous rice pudding, 年糕，jiao zi 饺子，set off firecrackers 放鞭炮gift money, 压岁钱， all in today’s Chinese Studio
Cam: This is very very interesting Yajie. I am excited to be spending my first spring festival here in China. Would you like to give our question of the day?
Yajie: Sure. How do you say, “set off firecrackers” in Chinese?
Cam: Send your answer to Chinese@crifm.com, and you might win a prize from us.
YJ: Mingtian jian!