First and foremost, let us wish all of our many viewers a Happy New Chinese Year! Today is the first day of the year of the Monkey and we hope it’s a great one for you—especially in the way you progress in your Mandarin Chinese studies!

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(1) The top 5 fun facts about Chinese New Year

(2) To understand the words and phrases you will often see used during Chinese New Year

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

1. 春节:Chinese New Year, Spring Festival

Cultural note 1: Chinese (Lunar) New Year is celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar and is the most important festival for Chinese people worldwide. It is also known as the Spring Festival, which is the literal translation of the more modern Chinese name.

2. 春联:Chun lian is a special type of Duilian, or couplet (poetry). It is used during the Chinese New Year. On Chinese New Year’s Day, couplets written on red paper are posted each side of a home’s front door to celebrate the New Year.

3. 红包:Traditionally, red envelopes or red packets called “hong bao” are given out during Chinese New Year celebrations—mainly from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors

Cultural note 2: Red is the main theme colour in Chinese New Year as it corresponds with fire, and symbolises good fortune and joy. Red can be seen everywhere during Chinese New Year and other holidays and family gatherings.

4. 除夕:Chinese New Year Eve

5. 大年初一:First day of the Chinese New Year Festival when, traditionally, people will go visit to neighbours and relatives

6. 大年初二: Second day of the Chinese New Year Festival, when married couples visit the wife’s parents

7. 大年初三:Third day of Chinese New Year which is known as “red mouth”. It is considered an unlucky day to have guests or to go visiting

8. 元宵节: The Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the lunar calendar, and marks the last day of the lunar New Year celebrations

Cultural note 3: in Chinese tradition, during the Spring Festival, each date has a specific meaning and there are set things to do and not do. Nowadays, these rules are not as strict as before

9. 团圆饭: A reunion dinner, or 年夜饭, is held on New Year’s Eve, during which family members gather for celebration

10. 春节联欢晚会:the CCTV New Year’s Gala is a popular TV programme which is broadcast starting four hours before the start of the New Year. Many families watch it together during and after the reunion dinner

11. 春节黄金周:Golden week Spring Festival holiday is used to describe the long holiday of the Spring Festival.

Cultural note 4: usually starting the month before Chinese New Year, people gradually start to head back home to reunite with their family before New Year’s Eve. These days, instead of staying at home during the holiday, more and more people are choosing to travel with their family and friends during the long holiday break.

12. 年糕:Sticky rice cake

13. 饺子:Dumpling

14. 汤圆(元宵): Tangyuan is a form of Chinese food made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls, which are cooked in boiling water and then served.

15. 元宵节: Lantern Festival

Cultural note 5: to eat the special Spring Festival food is a major part of Chinese culture. However, it does not mean that such food cannot be eaten the rest of the time. Some of the food eaten over the Spring Festival, such as “饺子”-dumplings is one of the most common types of food eaten throughout the whole year.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

round-italki-logo-3d-01Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!


Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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