Fabiana in China: Chinese New Year for Beginners

Red lanterns, golden dragons and white goats.

YES! Spring is finally here! The arrival of the Chinese New Year (or modernly called as the Spring Festival) can be seen, smelled, and touched everywhere you go. For a foreigner like me however, the countdown to a holiday like this has meant smiles, less traffic and clear skies. What not to love about it!?

While trying to find out more about the holiday, I found a short&sweet video I’d like to share with all of you. The video explains what the most common Chinese New Year traditions are and things History.com “bets you didn’t know” about the holiday. Deep stuff.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/chinese-new-year/videos/bet-you-didnt-know-chinese-new-year

As part of this week’s language activity, our professors organized a dumpling-making(饺子) evening. We gathered in the immersion guys’ apartment and were taught how to wrap (包)pork and onion leaves dumplings (猪肉大葱饺子),and chives and eggs dumplings (韭菜鸡蛋饺子). Although I did most of the taking-pictures part and not much of the actual making of it, we all learned about the different techniques used and traditions held behind the dumpling-making. We definitely enjoyed our time with the whole Immersion-track family.

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The most interesting thing I learned that day was the reason why northern Chinese people eat the dumplings on New Year’s Eve. According to my professors, the tradition of eating dumplings occurs because the word dumpling or jiaozi (饺子) in Chinese, sounds like a Chinese word meaning “bidding farewell to the old and ushering the new” (credits to travelchinaguide.com for the translation). I can’t think of a better adjective than superstitious when I think about Chinese people and customs, but then again who am I to judge after freaking-out every time someone tries to hand me the salt.

Next week, we’ll be having a break from 5am coffee and endless character-writing for our one-week Spring Break vacation. As a treat to our hard work, today, two friends and I decided we wanted to travel. YOLO right?

With the luck we have, we managed to get train tickets to Harbin, China, or may I say, the “Ice and Amusement World.” So yes, I’ll be freezing to death in one of the most beautiful cities in China, most know for its ice sculpture festival, Siberian tigers, and Russian landmarks. 10 hours in a hard-seat train during the famous “spring travel rush,” OH! am I going to breath in Chinese culture. I can’t wait!

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