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Directory Of Year 2006, Issue 12
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When Did They Come

Year:2006 Issue:12



Release Date:2006-12-01

Page: 80

Full Text:  

Shénme Shíhou Lái De
When Did They Come

Gāo Yīfēi Zǎofàn chī le ma

Mǎ Lì Hái méi yǒu ne Ò duì le nǐ de dì tú néng bù néng jiè wǒ yòng yī xià

Gāo Yīfēi Xíng a dào wǒ fáng jiān qù ná ba Zěn me nǐ yào chū qù

Mǎ Lì Wǒ yào péi wǒ bàmā qù Lì shǐ Bó wù guǎn

Gāo Yīfēi Nǐ fùmǔ qīn lái le

Mǎ Lì Shì a Shàng gè xīng qī lái de

Gāo Yīfēi Shì cóng Ào dàlì yà lái de ma

Mǎ Lì Bù shì Tāmen xiān qù le Xiānggǎng ránhòu qù le Běijīng shàng gè xīng qī cóng Běijīng zuò huǒ chē lái de


English Translation


Gao Yifei: Have you had breakfast?

Ma Li: Not yet. Oh, could you lend me your map?

Gao Yifei: Yes. You can come to my room to get it. So, you're going out?

Ma Li: I’m going to accompany my parents to the History Museum.

Gao Yifei: Your parents are here?

Ma Li: Yes, they came last week.

Gao Yifei: Did they come from Australia?

Ma Li: No, they first went to Hong Kong and then to Beijing. Last week they came from Beijing by train.

Text extracted from Contemporary Chinese, project of the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOTCFL) of the People's Republic of China.

Cultural Notes

The Laba Festival, a celebration originating from ancient sacrificial rites, takes place on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. The people of China have traditionally attached great importance to agriculture, and across the land such grand ceremonies have long been a part of life, with bountiful harvests celebrated as a blessing from nature. After formal ceremonies come to a close, families and neighbors may feast upon congee, a sort of porridge made with newly reaped millets and grains, long a staple dish across the nation.

There are eight main ingredients and eight supplementary ingredients in traditional laba congee. Eight is voiced like "ba" in the Mandarin language, and the number is thought to be auspicious.

Below briefly retold is a famous tale associated with both the Laba Festival and congee.

Long ago an old couple and a young couple lived happily together as a family. The elders did all the housework and forbade the younger people from performing any chores, for fear the young would tire and lose their beauty. Thus the carefree young couple led a life of ease, with everything provided for them ... until the old couple died.

After eating up all the food that had been stored in the house, the young couple sold the home. Alas, not being thrifty, soon all their money was gone and they were forced to take refuge in a rundown abandoned grain shed. Winter set upon them, the two became cold and their food dwindled to nothing. Then, on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month, when they could bear the hunger no longer, they scrounged up a bit of grain from the four corners of the shed and managed to cook a pot of congee. Finally, when the grain was soft, moist, smelling sweet and ready to eat, with their mouths watering in anticipation, they lifted their spoons to quivering lips ... and a gust of wind blew down shed and they were crushed to death.

And so it was that when parents wished to impress upon their kids the hazards of slothfulness, they might cook up a pot of congee, and tell the sad tale of the lazy couple as their children filled their little stomachs.

Extracted from Legends of Ten
Chinese Traditional Festivals, published by Dolphin Books

5 chegongzhuang Xilu, P.O.Box 399-T, Beijing, China, 100048
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