Unit 10 Festivals and Holidays Text A Christmas By Qin Yuhua
I. Warming-up Read the following descriptions about western festivals and guess which festival they convey? • It is one of the most important festivals in western countries. • People usually celebrate it together with their family members. • People send cards or gifts to others. • A kind-hearted old man put the gifts in the stockings for children secretly at night.
This festival happens at the beginning of the spring. • Usually most young people are happy on this day. • They send flowers and chocolate or some other gifts to the one they love. Valentine’s Day
This festival happens in winter. • Every family has a feast on this day. • Turkey is the most important food on this day. Thanksgiving Day • People celebrate it to thank God for a harvest in 1620.
This festival happens in spring. On this day most people are happy. Some people may be fooled but they can not be angry. People can tell lies and play tricks on others without being blamed.
Most children are excited on this day. • They wear black costumes or masks. • They would like to dress up as frightening and ugly ghosts or witches. • They would like to knock others’ doors and say, “trick or treat”. Halloween
II.American holidays 1. New Year’s Day (January 1) 2. Groundhog Day (February 2) 3. Valentine’s Day (February 14) 4. St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) 5. April Fool’s Day (April 1) 6. Easter (the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox (春分), which is between the dates of March 22 and April 25)
7. Mother’s Day (the 2nd Sunday of May) 8. Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) 9. Father’s Day (the 3rd Sunday of June) 10. Independence Day (July 4) 11. Labor Day (the 1st Monday of September) 12. Columbus Day (the 2nd Monday of October) 13. Halloween (October 31) 14. Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday of November) 15. Christmas (December 25)
III. Official Chinese Holidays • New Year’s Day (January 1） 2. International Women's Day (March 8) 3. Tree-Planting Day (March 12） 4. International Labor Day (May 1) 5. Youth Day (May 4)
6. Children's Day (June 1) 7. The CCP's Birthday (July 1) 8. Army's Day (August 1) 9. Teacher's Day (September 1) 10. National Day (October 1)
1. Spring Festival / Chinese New Year (1st of the 1st month): It is the biggest and most celebrated festival in China and part of east and southeast Asia. The celebration of the Chinese New Year may last only a few days including the New Year's Eve. The New Year season actually starts from the 15th of the last month and ends at the 15th of the first month of the new year. IV. Chinese Traditional Holidays
By tradition, Chinese will be busy buying presents, decorating their houses, preparing food and making new clothes for the New Year. During that period, all transportation, in particular railway, will be busy bringing Chinese back to their own home town for a family reunion on the Chinese New Year’s Eve.
2. Lantern Festival (15th of the first month): Lantern exhibits, lion and dragon dances, and eating Tang Yuan (ball-shaped boiled sweet rice dumplings with delicious stuffing.) feature this day. It is very much celebrated in the rural areas by farmers. The Lantern Festival also marks the end of the Chinese New Year season.
3. Qing Ming (Pure & Bright in Chinese) / Tomb-sweeping Day (April 4 or 5: 5th of the 24 solar terms): Originally it was a celebration of spring. People used to go out on an excursion to "tread grass". Later, it became the day dedicated to the dear departed. Tidying up ancestors' tombs is its major big event.
Duan Wu (Dragon Boat) Festival (5th of the 5th month): It is said to be in memory of a great patriot poet of the then State of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), Qu Yuan (Ch'u Yuan), who drowned himself to protest his emperor who gave in to the bully State of Chin. For fear that fish may consume his body, people of Chu threw launched their boats and started throwing rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish. Now the big event of dragon boat contest may be a legacy of such activity. People today still eat the bamboo-leave rice dumplings on the occasion today.
5. The Seventh Eve / Double Seventh Day (the 7th of the 7th month): It is a traditional holiday almost lost to the younger generations today. It originates from a beautiful legend about a cowboy and a fairy who were cruelly separated and reunited once each year on this happy, sad occasion. It is regarded as a Chinese Valentine’s Day.
6. Mid-Autumn Festival (the 5th of the 8th month): It is second only to the Chinese New Year in significance. The moon on this day is the fullest and largest to the eye. Viewing it by the whole family while feasting on good wine, fruits and moon-cakes features the night event.
There is also a beautiful story behind it. Children are told that there's fairy on the moon living in a spacious but cold crystal palace with her sole companion, a jade rabbit. A heavenly general and friend would occasionally pay her a visit, bringing along his fragrant wine. She would then dance a beautiful dance. The shadows on the moon made the story all the more credible and fascinating to the young imaginative minds.
V. Christmas 1.What do you know about Christmas? • Christmas • Christmas tree • Christmas card • Christmas books • Nicholas SAINT
2. Comprehension Questions • What is Christmas celebrated for? • When do Christmas churches observe the birth of Christ? • Almost from the first, Christmas has been completely religious, hasn’t it? • What has Christ’s birth brought into the world?
Tell the customs at Christmas. • Tell about the image of Santa Claus. • Has Christmas always been remembered with happiness and good cheer? • What is the spirit of Christmas?
3. Topics for discussion and reflection 1)How does your family celebrate the Spring Festival?
A. Clean the house:the Chinese consider it important to give the house a thorough cleaning. Decorate:paint the doors and window panes red, hang paper cuts. give our money packets serve festive foods visit relatives and friends
B. My favorite holiday is Spring Festival. It’s a holiday for family gathering. And it always begins long before Spring Festival itself to me. Before Spring Festival I usually do some shopping, in which I do find a lot of fun. Sometimes I help my parents put on antithetical couplet (对联) on the walls.And in recent years, I take the job to wrap zongzi after my great-grandfather passed away. I really enjoy doing it, as the zongzi I wrapped was very popular with my little brothers and sisters. On New Year's Eve, my family have meals together as other Chinese families do.
I usually go to bed early that night, But my parents will stay up late or all night by playing cards or mahjong with their friends or relatives. I lie in bed listening to the fireworks outside and experiencing the prosperity of the holiday season. On Spring Festival, I go out with my friends or stay at home playing mahjong with my brothers. On the following days, I call on my relatives with my parents and have big meals together, and that always challenges my stomach.
2) In what way is Christmas similar to (different from) the Chinese Festival ? The Spring Festival and Christmas have much in common. Both are prepared beforehand to create a joyous atmosphere; both offer a family reunion with a big feast; and both satisfy the children with new clothes, lovely presents and delicious food. However, the Chinese Spring festival has no religious background while Christmas has something to do with God and there is Santa Claus with white beard to bring children presents. The westerners send each other Christmas cards for greetings while the Chinese people pay a call on each other.
Assignment: Some holidays and festivals celebrated in the Western countries or China are listed in the glossary. Do you know on which day is each of them celebrated? What do people do on that particular day?