Ring in the Year of the Dog with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the organization’s annual spring festival gala on Sunday, February 18 (5 p.m., Memorial Union Great Hall). The Chinese New Year celebration will feature food, games, and performances in traditional costumes. Admission is free and open to the public.
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important and grand festival in China. The date of Spring Festival is the first day of the lunar month which depends on the Chinese lunisolar calendar which changes every year. This year Spring Festival begins on February 16 with 2018 being the year of the dog. Spring Festival has a long history dating back to the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1046 BC).
Spring Festival means the spring season is on the way. Vegetation will be renewed and a new round of planting and harvesting begins. The arrival of the new year is naturally filled with joy.
About 10 days before the festival, every family starts preparing new year’s goods. New Year products include chicken, duck, fish, pork, tea, wines, roasted seeds and nuts, candy, and fruits. All the items need to be prepared so when friends and relatives come visit, you have a variety of food to serve them. Gifts also need to be prepared for when you go visit someone.
The most exciting thing for me when I was little, was my parents buying me a super pretty and nice outfit for the new year. I really think Spring Festival is the best festival for kids, because we can get a red pocket! Everyone in the family who is older than you, will you give money which is put in the red pocket (an envelope made with red paper). Red is the color of China. Chinese love the color red, as it symbolizes good fortune and joy. Red can be found everywhere during the spring festival, when you get married, and in traditional Chinese outfits.
People also decorate their houses, but the first step is to fully clean the house. Every year before Chinese New Year, my family would all go to my grandparents’ house to clean. The cleaning is very detailed and we would usually spend two or three days cleaning. The cleaning represents erasing all the bad things in the past year, and being fully ready for the new year. People paste the spring festival couplets with lucky sentences on their door to welcome good luck to the home. People also make beautiful window grilles out of red paper and paste them on the window. There are so many ways to decorate your house during the festival!
Spring festival is such a happy and peaceful festival, but also a day to be reunited relatives. People travel home to gather together during spring festival. The New Year’s Eve is as known as reunion night. We eat dinner together and watch the CCTV spring festival broadcast until midnight! During this moment, all family members will be together.
The warm atmosphere of the festival not only fills homes, but also the streets. In some shopping areas, there are parades with lions and dragons dancing and fireworks. During the parade, people crowd the streets and are so happy to celebrate together!
Huanyue is a junior in landscape architecture from Jiaxing, China.