Chinese Language Blog

A Chinese December Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Vocabulary

Can you believe it’s December already? Before you know it, we’ll be in the year 2017. The last month is a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. I’m sure that studying more Chinese is a New Year’s resolution for all of our readers. There’s no time like the present, though, so go ahead and read this post about December and learn quite a few Chinese words in the process.


It's getting cold!

It’s getting cold!

December (十二月 – shí èr yuè) is a time of change, as we get ready to move from one year to the next. It’s also a transition between seasons, as we move from autumn (秋天 – qiū tiān) into winter (冬天 – dōng tiān). It gets a bit cold (冷 – lěng), especially in the Northeast region, which is known as “Dongbei” (东北 – dōng běi). Some places get snow (雪 – xuě) and even ice (冰 – bīng). Down south in places like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, it’s still nice and warm (暖 – nuǎn).


Lots to do in Harbin in the winter!

Lots to do in Harbin in the winter!

Many people like to get outside to enjoy winter sports (冬季运动 – dōng jì yùn dòng) starting in December. People flock to places like Nanshan (南山 – nán shān) outside of Beijing or Yabuli (亚布力 – yà bù lì) up in Heilongjiang province to go skiing (滑雪 – huá xuě) or snowboarding (滑雪板 – huá xuě bǎn). If you don’t feel like coming down a mountain, you could always just go ice skating (滑冰 – huá bīng) or grab some friends for a game of ice hockey (冰球 – bīng qiú). Some people just don’t like to be cold, so they head for one of the many hot springs (温泉 – wēn quán) in the country. You could always warm up with some good food and drink, such as hot pot (火锅 – huǒ guō) or some hot cocoa (热可可 – rè kě kě). Or you could just drink some baijiu (白酒 – bái jiǔ) – that’ll surely warm you up!


Santa Claus is comin' to town!

Santa Claus is comin’ to town!

There are no major Chinese holidays in December, but more and more people are celebrating Christmas (圣诞节 – shèng dàn jié) – especially the commercial aspect of the holiday. “Jingle Bells” (铃儿响叮当 – líng er xiǎng dīng dāng) is on repeat in shopping malls and markets all across China, as people seek to cash in on the popular Western holiday. Don’t be surprised if you bump into Santa (圣诞老人 – shèng dàn lǎo rén – lit. Christmas old man) out there. A few cities in China host a Santa Con event, where you can join a crowd of jolly St. Nicks spreading holiday cheer and spirit(s) while caroling in the streets and on public transportation. Read our post “Santa Claus is Coming to China” and check out some highlights from the festivities in Beijing from a few years ago:

Santa Con VII descends upon Beijing in December 2014.

NYE party in Beijing.

NYE party in Beijing.

While people in China celebrate their traditional New Year during the Spring Festival (春节 – chūn jié), December 31st is also a festive occasion. After all, New Year’s Day (元旦 – yuán dàn) is a national holiday. You can catch the fireworks (烟花 – yān huā) display on the Bund in Shanghai or party down in Beijing to ring in the New Year (新年 – xīn nián).

Now aren’t you stoked for December? Get out there to enjoy some winter sports, do your Christmas shopping, or just sit around a bubbling hot pot with a bottle of Red Star baijiu. Whatever you do, make sure that you get ready to learn a new Chinese word every day in 2017!


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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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