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The Little New Year: the Kitchen God Festival

Jan. 11, 2012

Key Learning Point (Preview):

小年 (Xiǎonián): n. the Little New Year


"小年 (Xiǎonián) The Little New Year," also known as the "祭灶节 (Jìzào jié) the Kitchen God Festival," is believed to take place on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month when the Kitchen God will return to the Jade Emperor in Heaven to report the activities of the households over the past year. It's said the Kitchen God was sent forth by the Jade Emperor to take charge of all kitchens in the terrestrial world, so nowadays people regard him with high esteem as "保护神 (bǎohù shén) the patron saint."

When the big day finally arrives, people everywhere are "兴奋 (xīngfèn) excited," bustling about and "准备 (zhǔnbèi) preparing" for the sacrifice and departure of the Kitchen God. The ceremony usually takes place over a long evening, entailing attendees kneeling before the God's picture and making offerings of delicious foods, such as "灶糖 (zàotáng) kitchen sugar," or "火烧(huǒshāo) baked wheat cake." One can imagine the yearly rush that ensues to secure the treats. Perhaps some of the country folk are wisest to avoid the trouble and bake themselves.

Key Learning Point:

小年 (Xiǎonián): n. the Little New Year



        Míngtiān jiù shì Xiǎonián le, wǒmen qù mǎi diǎnr shíwù jì Zàoshén ba.
Lucy: 明天       就 是   小年     了,我们   去  买   点儿   食物 祭 灶神      吧。


        Tomorrow is the Little New Year! Let’s go to buy our treats to offer to the Kitchen God.

        Hǎo a.
Mike: 好 啊。




灶火 (zàohuǒ): n. the kitchen fire


灶神 (zàoshén): n. the Kitchen God


灶糖 (zàotáng): n. kitchen sugar


火烧 (huǒshāo): n. baked wheat cakes


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