January 23, 2017, by International students

Chinese New Year is about family, friends and food

By Jingjing from China, who is studying a PhD in the School of Education and is one of our international student callers.

Chinese New Year, also known as ‘Spring Festival’ (春节), is the most important festival in the Chinese lunar calendar. The celebration normally lasts for 15 days, but it might differ in different parts of China. Billions of people travel back to their homes and families, to get together and eat a delicious Reunion Dinner (年夜饭). Actually, the whole country is on the move before Spring Festival, in order to get home on time for celebrations. Chinese New Year, to me, is mainly about family and food.

When I was young, on New Year’s Eve, my parents took me and my brother to grandma’s place to gather with uncles and aunts for the annual reunion dinner. When I got older and left home, I still remember the feeling of joy every time I returned to my hometown Anhui after a long but worthwhile journey from a different province or country. Since I’ve been studying at Nottingham in England, I always celebrate with friends and students by making New Year’s Eve dinner and Chinese dumplings.

Chinese New Year's Eve dinner in my hometown, Anhui

Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner in my hometown, Anhui

Apart from delicious food, my memory about Chinese New Year is all kinds of traditions in the colour red. In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolises luck and good fortune. Until today, red is still really the colour of Chinese New Year. For example, red lucky envelops (红包) with money inside will be passed out to children to bring them prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. For almost every family, windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets. Last year, I put up red paper cutting with themes of ‘happiness’ and ‘good fortune’ (福) on the windows of my room and my office. Last but not least, every Chinese New Year is represented by one of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. In 2017, we will welcome the Year of the Rooster. If it’s your animal year, you will need to wear something red to be lucky or to get rid of the bad luck.

In one word, Spring Festival is the most important time of the year in Chinese culture. Students at The University of Nottingham are very lucky because we can go to places like Lakeside Arts Centre to see dragon dancing, try Chinese brush painting, and attend many other unique celebrations. This year, apart from joining these celebrations, I plan to cook a Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner for my friends at my accommodation Newark Hall. It’s now about family, friends and food.

Wishing all the Chinese students, staff and friends of The University of Nottingham a prosperous Happy New Year in 2017!


This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)

Posted in CelebrationsFood