Why is Chinese New Year special?

smallhead BIGWISDOM

Rising your being

It’s widely known that Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is special and doesn’t have a specific day like the Gregorian calendar: Every year is different!

 

 

 

 

While living in China, I was able to perceive that, alike western countries, Chinese people celebrate the Chinese New Year’s Eve which is extremely important for the entire population regardless their social statuses, political affiliations, financial situations or educational levels. Everyone gets ready for this remarkable occasion by being involved in particular activities of complete jubilation. 

The importance of the Chinese Spring Festival reaches the highest level that migrating workers (people working in other distant areas, mostly rural) travel to their hometowns by train for around 15 or more hours. So, congestion at train stations is inevitable and there are people who take advantage of this high demand for tickets to resell them and earn some extra money.  In addition, most of companies both public and private have one-week recess to give their employees the opportunity to rejoice this memorable event.

Another peculiar aspect is the Chinese Zodiac. It is a 12-year cycle and each year is identified with a different animal. Those 12 animals are: Dog, dragon, horse, monkey, ox, pig, rabbit, rat, rooster, sheep, snake and tiger. It’s interesting because based on your birth month, an animal will be assigned to you. Many Chinese people firmly believe in the designations of each animal and behave accordingly. Personally, I only believe in positive things and ignore the rest.

A few days before New Year, houses are decorated with banners in red color of important historical figures, icons as a symbol of good luck and the animal representing that year. People’s moods are noticeably striking which allow them to carry out their duties in a more relaxed and joyful way.

In the evening of the New Year’s Eve, relatives get together to have a special dinner which includes, among others, rice, cabbage, eggplant, tofu, pork, beef, fish, chicken and the unavoidable traditional dumplings.

 

 

 

 

 

In several Spring Festivals, I had the chance “to help” in the preparation process of dumplings which are made of flour and filled with pork or beef and some vegetables. Actually, I’m not sure how helpful was my participation because my culinary skills are rated as “non-existing” and this rating is constantly descending.

Anyway, the most gratifying aspect while preparing dumplings was the integration among friends and relatives, with joy, laughter and drinks. Personally, I don’t drink alcohol beverages, but many Chinese people don’t have hesitation to keep themselves “hydrated” with these “mood-transforming drinks.”

Similar to western countries, in China, fireworks on special events like Spring Festival are very popular for their colorful intensity and duration.

After dinner, which may last several hours, traditional people tend to watch special TV programs especially prepared for the occasion. Drinking, smoking and chatting are the key ingredients during this period.

 

 

 

The next day, the New Year’s first day, the common tradition is to visit other relatives, such as grandparents, parents and siblings. During that encounter, some memories and promises of plans for the New Year are shared among them and the most important intention is to reinforce their family bonds as some of them only see each other once a year.

As part of the normal evolution, this tradition is changing in China and now, it’s normal to find western customs such as Christmas trees, jingle bells, and other non-Chinese traditional adornments.

When I asked some of my Chinese friends for the reasons of adopting, for example, a Christmas tree, they were unable to provide a logical reason. One of the answers was: “Just because it’s common all over the world.”

It’s clear this has been influenced by advertisement and foreign culture being introduced after China started taking part in the globalization process; however, in my opinion, Chinese parents or schools should teach their kids to be authentic without following the masses or trends blindly. It’s a hard task but worth trying it to preserve the Chinese cultural heritage. 

 

Bottom line

If you have some experiences or opinions on this regard, please share them on the comments below, so we can all learn from each other.

 

  • Have you ever participated in a Spring Festival’ activity in China?
  • What aspects have caught your attention?
  • Do you believe in the Zodiac predictions?
  • What do you think of visiting some of your relatives only in the New Year?

 

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Why do Asian people change their names?

smallhead BIGWISDOM

Rising your being

 

Recently, the “cool trend” of many Asian people to change their names is increasingly becoming more popular. I can only speak about some citizens of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.

But, what’s wrong with this?

 

 

 

Great question! And the answer is clear: There is nothing wrong that people change their names.

What is controversial and inappropriate, in my opinion, is the fact the names are changed but not officially in their identity documents. Just an informal change.

I was able to see this phenomenon more often when living in China. Especially Chinese students feel a sort of necessity to change their names simply because foreigners, according to students, have a very hard time to pronounce their names, so they want to make foreigners’ lives easier.

This is acceptable for a temporary period of time or as part of pedagogical activities, but that’s it.

For me, this kind of name change shows lack of self-esteem and strong personality. And that’s exactly what some students demonstrated when they told me with bold honesty, “I don’t like my name as it’s ugly and hard to pronounce.”

Well, feeling that way is perfectly normal; however, doing nothing to remediate the situation is what I disagree with.

 

 

I’ve had the opportunity to work with many Chinese people and some of their “adopted” names are: Maria, Teresa, Cindy, Rebecca, Rose, Peter, John, Paul, Richard, Tom, to mention just a few. But when we need to find them in the company intranet, is not unusual to find something like ‘Ai’, ‘Feng’, ‘Huan’, ‘Jia’, ‘Bao’, ‘Chen’, ‘Dong’.

This is totally misleading!

When I asked a friend why he had the hidden name ‘Bao’, he just replied with his face turning reddish, “Never mind. Just call me Peter.” I understood the message he felt ashamed of his real name, so I kept silent to respect his decision.

Up to this point, this is just a matter of low self-esteem or temporary personality instability or the trivial desire of following the “trend” that others started. At the end of the day, this can be easily fixed.

Nevertheless, the embarrassing situation comes when picking their names.

 

 

It’s inherent to human beings to make mistakes, but for God’s sake, try not to make two mistakes in a row! If you freely decided to change your name because of the reasons explained above or whatever other reason you may have, that would be a mistake that will not jeopardize your entrance to ‘Heaven’; however, if you are careless in doing your due diligence with a preliminary research of your new name meaning in the most common languages, your entrance to “Hell’ is guaranteed. That is for simply choosing Spanish names like the following:

“Caca”, “freak”, “perra” or “veneno”.

These were real names some students chose for themselves. When I told them their meanings, they actually decided not to change their Chinese names. You can Google their meanings and I’m sure you will immediately realize why choosing your new name randomly, may generate a high level of discombobulation.

For the time being, I can tell you that “perra” means a female dog. But female dogs are cute, smart, lovely, etc., you may wonder. Wait a minute, because “perra” also means “prostitute”. It’s up to you if still want to move forward with that name.

Something clear is regardless the name you choose, it’s very likely that such a name means something shameful in any language. My humble suggestion is:

  • Keep your freaking awesome original name
  • Look for the meaning of your new name in some languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, to name just a few
  • Or to keep it simple, just pick whatever name you like and don’t care for its meaning and what other people say about it

Bottom line

If you have some experiences or opinions on this regard, please share them on the comments below, so we can all learn from each other.

 

  • Do you like your name?
  • Have you ever (unofficially) changed your name?
  • Why do people change their names?
  • Is it wrong that people change their names to please others?

 

 

 

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Indicative – Future Perfect in Spanish

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Rising your being

 

The Future Perfect expresses the idea that something will occur before another action in the future. It can also show that something will happen before a specific time in the future.

 

 

Examples

 

Affirmative form:

 

  • En noviembre, habré recibido mi promoción (In November, I will have received my promotion)
  • Habrás terminado el trabajo a las 3 pm (You will have completed the work at 3 pm)
  • Dentro de 2 años, Kelly y Ramona habrán logrado sus metas principales (Within 2 years, Kelly and Ramona will have achieved their main goals)
  • Cuando llegue mi mamá ya habré preparado la cena (When my mom comes, I will have already prepared the dinner)
  • Para esa fecha, vosotros ya os habréis graduado (By that date, you will have already graduated)

 

 

Negative form:

 

  • En noviembre, no habré recibido mi promoción (In November, I will not have received my promotion)
  • No habrás terminado el trabajo a las 3 pm (You will not have completed the work at 3 pm)
  • Dentro de 2 años, Kelly y Ramona no habrán logrado sus metas principales (Within 2 years, Kelly and Ramona will not have achieved their main goals)
  • Cuando llegue mi mamá no habré preparado la cena todavía (When my mom comes, I will not have prepared the dinner yet)
  • Para esa fecha, vosotros no os habréis graduado todavía (By that date, you will not have graduated yet)

 

The Future Perfect conjugation of the model regular verbs (ar, er, ir) is:

 

 

 

Amar

Correr

Yo

habré amado

habré corrido

habrás amado

habrás corrido

usted, él, ella

habrá amado

habrá corrido

nosotros o nosotras

habremos amado

habremos corrido

vosotros o vosotras

habréis amado

habréis corrido

ustedes, ellos, ellas

habrán amado

habrán corrido

 

 

 

Partir

Yo

habré partido

habrás partido

usted, él, ella

habrá partido

nosotros o nosotras

habremos partido

vosotros o vosotras

habréis partido

ustedes, ellos, ellas

habrán partido

 

 

 

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Indicative – Past Conditional in Spanish

smallhead BIGWISDOM

Rising your being

The Past Conditional is used to express a possible future action related to the past.

 

Examples:

 

Affirmative Form:

 

  • Si hubiera salido tarde, habría perdido la oportunidad laboral (If I had left late, I would have missed the job opportunity)
  • Habría surgido un problema si no se hubiese aclarado el malentendido (There would have been a problem if the misunderstanding hadn’t been clarified)
  • Con un buen clima, habríamos caminado 20 kilómetros (With good weather, we would have walked 20 kilometers)
  • Ella habría preferido el vestido rosado (She would have preferred the pink dress)

 

Negative Form:

 

  • Si no hubiera salido tarde, no habría perdido la oportunidad laboral (If hadn’t left late, I wouldn’t have missed the job opportunity)
  • No habría surgido un problema si se hubiese aclarado el malentendido (There wouldn’t have been a problem if the misunderstanding had been clarified)
  • Con un mal clima, no habríamos caminado 20 kilómetros (With bad weather, we wouldn’t have walked 20 kilometers)
  • Ella no habría preferido el vestido negro (She wouldn’t have preferred the black dress)

 

 

 

The Past Conditional conjugation of the model regular verbs (ar, er, ir) is:

 

 

 

Amar

Correr

Yo

habría amado

habría corrido

habrías amado

habrías corrido

usted, él, ella

habría amado

habría corrido

nosotros o nosotras

habríamos amado

habríamos corrido

vosotros o vosotras

habríais amado

habríais corrido

ustedes, ellos, ellas

habrían amado

habrían corrido

 

 

 

Partir

Yo

habría partido

habrías partido

usted, él, ella

habría partido

nosotros o nosotras

habríamos partido

vosotros o vosotras

habríais partido

ustedes, ellos, ellas

habrían partido

 

 

 

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Indicative – Future Simple in Spanish

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Rising your being

The main use of the Future Simple is to express what will happen or may occur after now.

Examples:

 

Affirmative form:

  • Visitaremos cinco países (We will visit 5 countries)
  • Esos empleados trabajarán hasta las 9 pm (Those employees will work until 9 pm)
  • El año entrante empezaré mi proyecto (Next year I will start my project)
  • El gerente y sus socios celebrarán el aniversario con una fiesta de gala (The manager and his partners will celebrate the anniversary with a gala celebration)

Negative form:

  • No visitaremos cinco países (We will not visit 5 countries)
  • Esos empleados no trabajarán hasta las 9 pm (Those employees will not work until 9 pm)
  • El año entrante no empezaré mi proyecto (Next year I will not start my project)
  • El gerente y sus socios no celebrarán el aniversario con una fiesta de gala (The manager and his partners will not celebrate the anniversary with a gala celebration)

The future with GOING TO is more informal and it has this syntax: IR + A + INFINITIVE.

 

Examples:

 

Affirmative form:

 

  • Lloverá mañana (It is going to rain tomorrow)
  • Voy a comer mariscos esta noche (I am going to eat seafood tonight)
  • Ellos van a construir el puente (They are going to buld the bridge)
  • Mi mamá, mi hermano y yo vamos a tomar clases de natación la semana entrante (My mom, my brother and I are going to take swimming lessons next week)

Negative form:

 

  • No lloverá mañana (It is not going to rain tomorrow)
  • No voy a comer mariscos esta noche (I am not going to eat seafood tonight)
  • Ellos no van a construir el puente (They are not going to buld the bridge)
  • Mi mamá, mi hermano y yo no vamos a tomar clases de natación la semana entrante (My mom, my brother and I are not going to take swimming lessons next week)

 

The Future Simple conjugation of the model regular verbs (ar, er, ir) is:

 

 

Amar

Correr

Yo

amaré

correré

amarás

correrás

usted, él, ella

amarás

correrá

nosotros o nosotras

amaremos

correremos

vosotros o vosotras

amaréis

correréis

ustedes, ellos, ellas

amarán

correrán

 

 

Partir

Yo

partiré

partirás

usted, él, ella

partirá

nosotros o nosotras

partiremos

vosotros o vosotras

partiréis

ustedes, ellos, ellas

partirán

 

The Future Simple conjugation of the model regular verbs (ar, er, ir) with GOING TO is:

 

 

Amar

Correr

Yo

voy a amar

voy a correr

vas a amar

vas a correr

usted, él, ella

va a amar

va a correr

nosotros o nosotras

vamos a amar

vamos a correr

vosotros o vosotras

váis a amar

váis a correr

ustedes, ellos, ellas

van a amar

van a correr

 

 

Partir

Yo

voy a partir

vas a partir

usted, él, ella

va a partir

nosotros o nosotras

vamos a partir

vosotros o vosotras

váis a partir

ustedes, ellos, ellas

van a partir

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