Recently I came across some new psychology terms which I never thought about before. We all experience fear about something to some level. Fear protects us from danger. However phobias have little to do with danger. It’s good to learn the terms which indicate the fear of something to extreme.
The fear of darkness.
Fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places like markets. Fear of leaving a safe place.
An abnormal fear of having conversations during dinner, banquets or dinner parties.
An abnormal and persistent fear of work.
Fear of long words.
An exaggerated, inexplicable, and illogical fear being without a mobile device, power source, or service area.
The fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in, or falling in love.
The pathological fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes, such as beehives, ant hills and lotus seed heads.
I list 9 Chinese traditional festivals here. Each festival has its history and its special festival food. Chinese people use the lunar calendar (agriculture calendar), which divides sky into 24 segments based on the seasons of the year. The festivals closely link to the lunar calendar.
The 24 seasonal segments:
Li Chun 立 春 – Beginning of spring (Spring Festival)
Yu Shui 雨水 – Rain water
Jing Zhe 惊蛰 – Waking of insects
Chun Fen 春分 – Spring equinox (the 21st day of Month 3)
Qing Ming 清明 – Pure brightness
Gu Yu 谷雨 – Grain rain
Li Xia 立夏 – Beginning of summer
Xiao Man 小满 – Grain full
Mang Zhong 芒种 – Grain in ear
Xia Shi 夏至 – Summer solstice (the 22nd day of Month 6)
Xiao Shu 小暑 – Slight heat
Da Shu 大暑 – Great heat
Li Qiu 立秋 – Beginning of autumn
Chu Shu 处暑 – Limit of heat
Bai Lu 白露 – White dew
Qiu Fen 秋分 – Autumnal equinox (the 23rd day of Month 9)
Han Lu 寒露 – Cold dew
Shuang Jiang 霜降 – Descent of Frost
Li Dong 立冬 – Beginning of winter
Xiao Xue 小雪 – Slight snow
Da Xue 大雪 – Great snow
Dong Zhi 冬至 – Winter solstice (the 22nd of Month 12)
(1) Spring Festival
Lunar calendar – The 1st day of the 1st month of the year
Chinese New Year, also called “Spring Festival”, is the most important festival for the Chinese people.In tradition, it starts the 8th day of the month 12 or 23rd day of the month 12 and ends the 15th day of the month 1 in the new year. The Chinese New Year’s Eve and the 1st day of Chinese New Year are the most days. In the Spring Festival, people make best wishes for a bright future and good luck for the New Year.
All family members get together, just like Christmas in the West. People play fireworks and paste door panels with Spring Festival couplets, highlighting Chinese calligraphy with black characters on red paper; on front doors, pictures of the god of doors and wealth will be posted toward off evil spirits and welcome peace and abundance.
Typical seasonal food:
Dumplings, which have the shape likes gold ingot from ancient China, people eat them and wish for money and treasure.
New Year Rice Cakes, made with yellow and white flour, dates and sugar, express people’s best wishes for improving in work and life year after year.
特色: 点起彩灯, 舞狮子，耍龙灯，演社火，游花市，逛庙会, 放焰火、喜猜灯谜、共吃元宵.
(2) Lantern Festival
Lunar calendar – The 15th day of the 1st month of the year
The Lantern Festival is the first full moon of the New Year. It is a symbol the coming of the spring. People celebrate the New Year’s continuation.
People go out to watch hundreds of decorative lanterns in public parks, play riddles; and watching the dragon dance or lion dance show in streets.
Typical seasonal food:
Sweet dumpling balls, has the “reunion” pronunciation, which is similar to taking the meaning of reunion. It is a symbol of family unity and happiness, harmony and happiness, and also, the memory of loved ones farewell, and good wishes for the future.
(3) Dragon-Head-Raising Festival
Lunar calendar – The 2nd day of the 2nd month of the year
Dragon-Head-Raising Festival is also commonly known as the “Dragon Heads-raising Day”. In the season, dormant creatures in the soil or insects in the cave wake up from hibernation, the legendary dragon wake up from sleep too, hence it’s called “Dragon Heads-raising Day”. In ancient China, especially in the Qin and Han and before, where as the 1st day of Month 1, the 2nd day of Month 2, the 3rd day of Month 3 like “heavy day”, which is considered the world more sympathetic, heaven-interlinked day. Thus, in this day people need to do more praying, worship, or celebration, in order to achieve happiness, well-being and good fortune. As the ancient dragon is a sacred symbol, Most Chinese northern farmers believe that dragon will expel pests and bring rainfall, and with the help of that day, all stores, big and small, will be full of grains.
People have shaved, worship, remember Wenchang God, eat noodles, fried Rick Cake, and pork, etc. They pray for the Land God to bless peace, good weather and grain harvest. People believe in this day, barber will make people take the lead and good fortune, therefore on this day, barbering is very common.
Typical seasonal food:
Spring cake is very thin baked bread. Eating a Spring cake is also known as “bite the spring”, which implies that having hit the Spring at the beginning of Spring will bring people good fortune.
(4) The Qing Ming Festival
The April 5th; Lunar calendar – the Pure Brightness day
The Qing Ming Festival is also called “Pure Brightness Festival” and “treading on the greenery”. It is the “Pure Brightness” day of the 24 seasonal segments, which denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and visit the graves or burial grounds of their ancestors. It is an opportunity for celebrants to remember and honour their ancestors at grave sites.
On the day, people visit the graves or burial grounds of their ancestors; pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, paper money, and/or libations to the ancestors. After the worship, people go home and eat the food and drinks with a belief that they have got blessings from the ancestors. To show respect to the ancestors, people preserve the habit of not giving the fire to cook and eating cold. People also go picnic and play swing and enjoy the spring weather.
Typical seasonal food:
Qing Dumpling is made by Ai grass juice, glutinous rice and wrapped in red bean paste, date paste and other fillings. After steaming, it comes out with fresh green color, fragrant and not non-sticky.
Rice-stuffed Lotus-root is made from lotus root with glutinous rice, sweet osmanthus and honey. It’s sweet, sticky and has the fresh scent of lotus and osmanthus. It is a popular dessert in China now.
As people tend to eat cold food in the festival day, food such as Qing Dumpling and Lotus root stuffed with sweet sticky rice is suitable for afternoon tea and lunch as sticky rice is quite satiety.
(5) Dragon Boat Festival
Lunar calendar – the 5th day of the 5th Month
One main legend of the festival is about Qu Yuan, a famous poet and a minister lived in the pre-imperial Warring States period (475-221 BC). Known for his patriotism, Qu Yuan tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their Qin neighbors. However, he was set up and exiled by crafty sycophants, and felt disappointed with the upcoming devastation of his state from invasion by a neighbouring Warring State. Qu Yuan was said to have waded into the Miluo river which drains into Dongting Hu(lake) in today’s Hunan Province. Considering his ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era, the common people rushed out on the water in their fishing boats to the middle of the river and tried desperately to save Qu Yuan. They beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles in order to keep the fish and evil spirits from his body. Later on, they scattered rice into the water to prevent him from suffering hunger. Another belief is that the people scattered rice to feed the fish, in order to prevent the fishes from devouring the poet’s body.
The celebrations include: dragon boat racing, eating Zongzi, and drinking traditional wine.
Typical seasonal food:
Zongzi, also called “Chinese rice-pudding”, is made by sticky rice, filled in dates, peanuts, meat, dry grapes or green beans etc. and wrapped in bamboo/reed leaves. The unique smell and flavor of leaves will go into the rice. Making Zongzi is traditionally a family event of which everyone helps out.
(6) Qi Qiao Festival
Lunar calendar – the 7th day of the 7th Month
Qi Qiao Festival, known as “Seven Maiden’s Festival”, revolves around the mythological love story between the Cow herder (Niu Lang) and the Weaving Maiden (Zhi Nu). Zhi Nu was the 7th daughter of Jade Emperor living in the heaven. One day whilst visiting Earth, she met and fell in love with Niu Lang. They got married, but they were soon discovered by her mother, the Jade Empress. According to the rules of the heaven, a goddess cannot marry a mortal. The Jade Empress was angry, and ordered her to return to heaven. But she took pity on the couple, and allowed them to meet once a year. So on the 7th night of every 7th lunar month, they meet on a bridge formed by magpies. The purpose of this festival is for females to pray for the highly skills of weaving from Zhi Nϋ and also to pray for a happy marriage like hers whose husband is faithful to her and loving her deeply.
Girls pray for a good spouse and a happy marriage. There is also the practice of airing clothing, needle-threading and “spider web” contest. Exhibitions of miniature clothes, shoes, sewing works.
Typical seasonal food:
Qiao fruit Cake, is made by flour, oil, sugar and honey and was used to be offered to Zhi Nu for praying for weaving “skills”. There are other 5 types of sweet food to feast together, namely dried lychees, red dates, hazelnuts, peanuts and melon seeds.
(7) Mid-Autumn Festival
Lunar calendar – the 15th day of the 8th Month
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the “Moon Festival” and “Lantern Festival” is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest. Farmers celebrate the end of the fall harvesting season on this date. Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Houyi and Chan E, the Moon Goddess of Immortality. There are many variants and adaptations of the legend of Chang’e that frequently contradict each other. However, most versions of the legend involve some variation of the following elements: Houyi, the Archer, an emperor, either benevolent or malevolent, and an elixir of life.
Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.
Typical seasonal food:
In the festival, Mooncakes are for lunar worship and moon watching. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival. Most Mooncakes consist of a thin, tender skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling, and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in its centre to symbolise the full moon. Traditional Mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony”, as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside.
(8) Double Ninth Festival
Lunar calendar – the 9th day of the 9th Month
The Double Ninth Festival is also known as the “Festival for the Elderly”. According to the “Book of Changes”, “nine” is a young (positive) number; the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang (a traditional Chinese spiritual concept) and is thus a potentially dangerous date. Hence, the day is also called “Double Yang Festival”. To protect against the danger, it is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum wine and wear the Zhuyu. In Chinese, “99” is a homonym of “long”, which means everlasting, so on this holiday, some Chinese also visit temples and the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. One of the legend is about a man called Huan Ying. One day, he knew that a monster of pestilence would come, so he asked people in his village to wear Zhuyu and climb to a hill to hide from the disaster. People then use the Double Ninth Festival to celebrate the victory of Huan Ying.
Family will be together all that day and to climb heights; normally climbing a mountain, a tower or a high hill. This activity is regarded as “disaster prevention”. Many locations also host a chrysanthemum exhibit and mountain climbing races.
Typical seasonal food:
Chrysanthemum tea/wine is popular because in ancient times as “auspicious wine” that people must drink on the Double Ninth Festival to prevent disasters and pray for blessings, and also chrysanthemum implies the flower longevity.
Chongyang Cake is also called “Hua Gao”. In Chinese, “Gao”, as a type of cake, has the same pronunciation of the character “height”. Therefore, people replaced height climbing custom with eating Chongyang cake. The partial tone suggests promotion and high rank.
(9) Laba Festival
Lunar calendar – the 8th day of the 12th Month
Laba Festival, also known as Laba Rice Porridge Festival, was tradition originated from Buddhism. Legend has it that Sakyamuni became a Buddhist under a banyan on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. Afterwards, people would have rice porridge on this day in memory of the Buddha’s sufferings. Laba Rice Porridge would be cooked on this day in temples, with rice, nutlet, millet, etc. as the raw material. It would be sacrificed to the Buddha first and then given out to disciples and the poor. Also, it is an occasion for people to give sacrifices to their ancestors and the end of a year, and to pray to heaven and earth for a good harvest and good luck for the family.
People celebrate the original ancestors of agricultural harvest rewards of the ceremony. Activities focus on Buddha worship, worship ancestral spirits, celebrating the harvest and drive epidemic asserting disaster.
Typical seasonal food:
Laba Rice Porridge is made of diversified rice (glutinous rice, oats, corns etc.), beans (soy beans, mung beans, kidney beans, cowpeas etc.), dried nuts (chestnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.), bean curd and meat. Melon seeds, lotus seeds, pine nuts, sugar, and other preserved fruits are added to give more flavours. Since Laba Rice Porridge was believed to be blessed with good fortune and longevity, it was also called “Longevity Blessing Porridge” and “Virtue Blessing Porridge”. Laba porridge is now regarded as a very nutritious food in winter that has the function of strengthening the spleen, stimulating the appetite, and soothing the nerves. It is welcomed by people of different ages.
睡觉前, 我是不应该看这么感人的小说的, 特别是关于死亡.
I know it’s not a good idea to read such a touching book before go to sleep, especially it’s about death and life.
A lot of time, we see nice people left us in a young age, but those bad souls live well.
几年前无意看到了Professor Randy Pausch 的一系列讲座.他得了胰腺癌,还很年轻.当看到一个人面对死亡,从鲜活到远去,很长时间心情都不能平静.
A few years ago, I watched Professor Randy Pausch‘s presentations and read his book. I felt sorry for his loss though I don’t know him at all.
最近又无意看到了Mitch Albom 的书«Tuesdays with Morrie»,讲述Professor Morrie Schwartz得知自己得了肌萎缩侧索硬化症后的故事(Profeesor Stephen William Hawking 就是得了这种病) .
Recently, I came across Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morries. It tells a story of Professor Morrie Schwartz’s last 14 weeks.
Mitch is like us, and Morrie is like someone close to us.
It’s an inspiration book. I put some nice quotes below.
14 Tuesdays, 14 lessons about life.
Learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Love is the only rational act.
I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life.
The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die.
Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.
This is part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out from them.
Detaching yourself from the experience.
If you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.
Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between people… Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house.
Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.
第十个星期二,关于婚姻.婚姻没有一个简单的规则. 婚姻中需要尊重, 折衷, 敞开心菲交流和类似的价值观.
They don’t know what they want in partner. They don’t know who they are themselves – so how can they know who they’re marrying?
We need others as well.
How could he find perfection in such an average day?
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
再摘抄几段吧 (More wonderful quotes):
The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.
So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
Everyone knows they’re going to die… but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently… To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.
If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.
There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.
When you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.
The little thing, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.
Look, no matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become. There is no such thing as “too late” in life.
Noah: I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.
Duke: That’s my sweetheart in there. Wherever she is, that’s where my home is.
Duke: Science only goes so far and then comes God.
Allie: Do you think our love, can take us away together?
Duke: I think our love can do anything we want it to.
(P.S. I Love You)
Patricia: So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.
Many of my colleagues are interested in the Chinese 12 animal signs and their order. Here is an English introduction. This is a legend of the signsin Chinese, I haven’t found the English version of it on this website.
Rcently, I watched the presentation videos of two famous people in China, one is Mr. Ao Li, a liberal, a writer in Taiwan and the other is Prof. Qiang Zheng at the Zhejiang University. I know it’s a bit out of date, but for me, it’s not too late to watch. It’s in Chinese. So I don’t know if there are any English version of these presentations. No time to search online.
Actually, I like the one that Mr. Li made in Peking University most over the three discourses in Peking University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University. I feel the words he used to describe the attitudes of people to government are very vivid. It’s the power and art of Chinese really. Also, his attitudes to and means of facing life and country are worthy of considering and some of his acts are admirable.
Prof. Zheng’s presentations make me feel I more like young generation educators than the traditional old educators. This is not the primary thing, the key point for me is I feel the changes, the justice and the improvement which I always care.
There are about 7,000 usual Chinese characters. However, according to the recorded history, there are more than 90,000 Chinese characters. The list below enumerates some interesting Chinese characters that are composed of three same characters.