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  Weekly Feature (January 30, 2005) LESSON

Chinese New Year 4702
The Blind Rooster Year—Lovers Beware!

L's Weekly Feature: Idioms, Vocabulary and Grammar Lesson


Lovers Beware!

This year, based on lunar calculations, Chinese New Year will be officially celebrated on Wednesday, February 9.  However, fortune tellers use the Xia calendar which is based on the sun. This calendar starts the new year on Friday, February 4. Technically, the Rooster Year will start 5 days before Chinese New Year!  When this happens, the Chinese call it a blind year

For superstitious lovers, this might not be a good year to tie the knot. Some Chinese couples have already decided to move up or postpone their marriages to avoid the Blind Rooster Year. 

Those who decide to tempt the fates face a double omen. There is an ancient belief that blind years are bad for marriage. This is compounded by another belief that the years of the Rat, Rabbit, Rooster, and Horse are the four years of romantic misadventures. So, this coming new year will pose a double whammy for superstitious love birds.

For the rest of us, Chinese New Year means 15 days of feasting and visiting friends and relatives. To all our students who celebrate this day, the staff at PALC wish you all Xin Nien Kwai Lehr (Mandarin), and  Kung Hei Fatt Choy (Cantonese). May you have a happy and prosperous new year!






By the way, if you don’t want to reveal your age, don’t tell anyone your Chinese animal sign. The Chinese calendar has 12 animals that are recycled every 12 years. For example, someone born in the year of the Rooster can be 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, or 108. On the other hand, you might get a very good compliment if are mistaken for 36 when you are really 48 or 60!

To know more about Chinese New Year and all its customs and traditions, check out the sites below:


Chinese New Year Information at University of Victoria

Chinese New Year Information from Scotland

Chinese New Year Information for Children

Activities for Children on Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year at Web Holidays

Chinese New Year Resources (with music)



Idioms are groups of words with special meanings that are usually different from the meanings of the individual words. For example, if the idioms in the reading are over your head, it means that they are too difficult for you to understand. Hopefully that is not true, and you can make a good guess at their meaning. Take a shot at it by matching each idiom below with its meaning.


  1. ____ Tie the knot
  2. ____  Moved up
  3. ____  Tempt the fates
  4. ____  Double whammy
  5. ____  Love birds
  6. ____  On the other hand



1)     Two times the pain or suffering.

2)     People who are deeply in love

3)     To show something with an opposite effect

4)     Take a chance

5)     Get married

6)     To do something earlier


Use the idioms to fill-in the blanks below:

1)     Many of the tsunami victims faced a ______________________: the loss of loved ones, and the loss of their means of earning a living.

2)     One of the survivors of the Titanic decided to ________________________________  by immediately going on another trans-Atlantic cruise.

3)     Many couples decided to _________________________ on August 8, 1988. It was considered a good day to get married.

4)     The ____________________ were inseparable – they were always in each other’s arms.

5)     The schedule has been ____________________________  to get everything done before they go on their vacation.

6)     You don’t get to see very much scenery when driving at night. ________________________, you can relax without worrying about traffic jams.

Word Analysis: Prefixes

Prefixes change the main stem or root of a word. For example, in the word “misadventure”, the prefix “mis” means bad or wrong. A misadventure is therefore something that went wrong.

Prefix                Meaning

Mis        -           Wrong

Re         -           Again

Post      -           After or later

Super    -           Greater than

Com      -           Together


The 5 prefixes listed above were used in words from the reading. Try to match the words below with their meanings. To check if your meaning is correct, read the sentence or paragraph containing the word again.

A.                     Mis      adventure

B.                     Mis      taken

C.                    Re       cycled

D.                    Post    pone

E.                     Super  stitious

F.                     Com    pounded


1)     _______        To do something later than planned

2)     _______        A stronger than normal belief in the things that cannot be explained by the laws of nature.

3)     _______        Brought together to make more difficult or complicated

4)     _______        Think wrongly

5)     _______        To start a pattern again



Match the numbered words below with their meanings.


  1. Beware
  2. Lunar
  3. Celebrated
  4. Fortune tellers
  5. Technically
  6. Couples
  7. Decided
  8. Avoid
  9. Ancient
  10. Omen
  11. Romantic
  12. Feasting
  13. Relatives
  14. Prosperous
  15. Reveal
  16. Compliment
  17. Customs
  18. Traditions


1)     ______

2)     ______

3)     ______

4)     ______

5)     ______

6)     ______

7)     ______

8)     ______

9)     ______

10) ______

11) ______

12) ______

13) ______

14) ______

15) ______

16) ______

17) ______

18) ______

a)     cultural beliefs

b)     people of your own family

c)      keep away from something

d)     an expression of praise

e)     made up your mind

f)        a sign of good or bad things to come

g)     based on the moon

h)      to mark with festivities

i)        people who can see the future

j)        to be accurate; correctly

k)      to be careful

l)        pairs

m)   very old

n)      idealized love

o)     eating good food

p)     show

q)     usual ways of behaviour

r)       rich and successful



Articles : A, An, The

Underline all the nouns in the reading above and check if they are used with articles.

Write these noun phrases with their articles, if any, in the spaces below. Try to discover a pattern that can help you use articles in your own writing.


  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________
  4. _______________________________________
  5. _______________________________________
  6. _______________________________________
  7. _______________________________________
  8. _______________________________________
  9. _______________________________________
  10. _______________________________________
  11. _______________________________________
  12. _______________________________________
  13. _______________________________________
  14. _______________________________________
  15. _______________________________________
  16. _______________________________________
  17. _______________________________________
  18. _______________________________________
  19. _______________________________________
  20. _______________________________________


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