Here is a Chinese story which explains why people celebrate Spring Festival. The story is based around a monster called the “Nian” and features a lot of typical Spring Festival things such as the color red and, of course, fireworks.

The story has a nice balance of simple and more complicated sentence structures which make it very fun to read through. See how much you can read without peaking at the pinyin, you will probably be quite surprised by the amount you can understand. There is also a voice recording of this passage being read, listen to it while following through the story. Now let’s go through this story and look at some of the vocabulary to be found within.

Key Words

春节- Spring Festival. It would be remiss not to include Spring Festival at the forefront of the key words for this text.

象征 – In the story below it is said that 春节象征一年的开始 which is to say that Spring Festival represents the start of a new year.

传统 – Traditional. 悠久的传统 would mean an age-old tradition.

兽 – Beast. For example 美女与野兽 being the title of Beauty and the Beast.

The Spring Festival Story

(Hover over the Chinese for pinyin)


  但是中国人为什么要过春节呢?  春节的来源是什么呢?  如果宝宝问起这样的问题,作为父母的你,可能也不一定回答的上来。其实,关于中国的春节,以及春节的各种习俗,都有很多奇妙动人的神话故事,快要过年了,爸爸妈妈也可以给宝宝讲讲这些关于过年的传说。









Difficult Translations

Let’s take a look at couple of the trickier lines of Chinese to be found in this passage.


While this is fairly explanatory, the 过 character is important. In this context it means “celebrate” a small example would be 过生日 which means to celebrate a birthday. Most people are aware that 过 can be a past tense indicator but in this sentence it can’t be as 要 is not usually used in this way with 过 as past tense.

The entire sentence could be translated to “But why do Chinese people celebrate Spring Festival?”


The 以 is important in this sentence and should probably be translated to “In order to”. There are a lot of ways to translate this depending upon the sentence but this probably fits best.

This could be translated to “All of the villagers hide away deep in the mountains in order to avoid the damage the Nian brings.”

Comprehension Questions

As usual, write the answers to these questions in the comments below. The first couple of questions shouldn’t pose many problems but the last two questions are a bit more demanding. Enjoy!

  1. 怪兽“年”的长相是什么样子的?它住在哪里?
  2. 乞讨老人是怎样恐吓怪兽“年”的?
  3. 根据这个传说,中国人每年怎样庆祝春节?
  4. 你所在的城市/国家有很多中国人吗?他们是怎样庆祝新年的?

Thanks for sending in this story!

This story was sent in to us by one of our readers, thanks! If you would like to contribute more Chinese stories or general reading to this website you can do so using this Contact form. We hope you have a great Spring Festival, be sure to keep coming back for new reading.