Lunar New Year Explained

Our computer class students put together a snazzy series of descriptions/explanations of Lunar New Year, often called Chinese New Year. Here’s one sample – and make sure to take the quiz afterwards to test your comprehension!

new year

Chinese New Year

Fen Fen Liang

Chinese New Year is important for Chinese people. For Chinese New Year, there are a lot of things to celebrate. Before New Year’s Eve, we usually clean the house seriously. This symbolizes throwing away bad things from the last year and greeting good things in the coming year. After we clean the house, we usually paste many spring festival scrolls on the wall, in front of the door or anywhere we want to paste them. The words on the spring festival scrolls are wishes. Spring festival scrolls are red; red means luck.

I usually have New Year’s Eve dinner with my family. I have a big family, so my mother makes a lot of food for the dinner. Before we start to have the New Year’s Eve Dinner, we need to pray. During dinner we talk about many things, about jobs, kids, studies, the last year, the coming year and so on. After dinner we set off firecrackers, and we play cards or mahjong. Children get red envelopes from their older, married relatives. Some adults give red envelopes to their elders also, like their father, mother, grandfather or grandmother.

Chinese New Year is interesting. One, two or more lions dance together. The lions are not real lions, they are people in costume. This costume is to throw out bad luck. When the lions are coming you need to give them candy, oranges, lettuce and red envelopes. Children like the lion dances, firecrackers and red envelopes.


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Happy Year of the (Fire) Monkey!

monkey 2

2016 is the Year of the Monkey – specifically, the Fire Monkey. Read this short article about the Fire Monkey from Wikipedia, paying special attention to the bold words. All of these bold words are adjectives, some of them positive-sounding, some of them negative-sounding, some of them depending on the context. Do any of them describe you?

From Wikipedia:

The Fire Monkey is the most active and aggressive of the Monkeys. Naturally dominant, he automatically gravitates towards leadership roles and is competitive in whatever he is doing. He will need to be careful not to let this overwhelm him and turn into toxic jealousy.

He also constantly strives to be in control of whatever situation he is in, which can become overbearing. The main drive for whatever he embarks on is to head straight for the top and stay there. However, when he is in charge of a situation, his people skills kick in and he does nurture those under his charge who need it.

With his Fire energy, this agile, impulsive Monkey often leaps where angels fear to tread. This reckless behavior sometimes turns out to not be to the Fire Monkey’s advantage. However, he is very creative, dynamic and has a particularly good talent at drawing people to him – this often helps him get out of scrapes. He’ll leap from tree to tree – whichever has the most fruit at the time – then find the quickest, cleverest escape before others get to him.

In general though, the Fire Monkey is flamboyant and charmingly friendly, and has a large social circle.

Life Lessons:

The Fire Monkey’s aggression needs to be channeled correctly to correct and positive directions, or he risks become very destructive and harmful. If the Fire Monkey could develop more patience, it would be good for him and those who work with him. The Fire Monkey also needs to think through his ideas before acting on them in order to safeguard his own interests.

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Idiom of the Week: Monkey Around


Meaning: To play around; to not do something seriously.


Stop monkeying around and start doing your homework!

In my spare time I like to monkey around with cars – I’m kind of an amateur mechanic.

The teacher gets very angry when she catches students monkeying around in class.

Pop Quiz:

Which one is an example of monkeying around?

A.  Quietly writing.

B.  Running around and making noise.

C.  Going to the zoo.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

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