What It Feels Like to Actually Celebrate the Chinese New Year in China

I have been teaching in Hangzhou for a couple of months now and part of what I was really excited about living and teaching in China is actually being able to experience the Chinese New Year here. Majoring in history made me have a soft spot for Chinese culture, which is why I started teaching in China. So far, this experience made me fall in love with Chinese history, Chinese food, Chinese people and Chinese culture all over again—and what’s more cultural than celebrating the Chinese New Year in China? Or as locals would call it, the Spring festival.

I’ve learned a couple of traditions from my Chinese friends as well. In order to welcome the New Year, the Chinese people make sure to clean their homes. They usually put up red posters with poetic verses to their doors, they stick Chinese New Year photos on their walls, and decorate their homes full of red lanterns.

In the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away any bad luck and bring forth good luck. Children usually receive “luck” money and numerous people wear new clothing. Besides that, people also send New Year’s greetings to one another. Various activities such as beating of drums and striking gongs, as well as dragon and lion dances, are all part of the festivities during this great festival.

My favorite part about the Chinese New Year is that it is also considered to be a time to reunite with relatives—which is why so many people visit their families at this time of year. Coming from a tight-knit family, I firmly believe that these are the kind of values that we should be practicing. The Chinese New Year is indeed the perfect time to reconnect with your family and one day, I’m going to take my family here and celebrate the Chinese New Year with them.

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